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The Big Apple is back, Delta execs say


Don’t call it a comeback unless you’re talking about the tourists.

Travel demand to New York City has grown substantially, Delta Air Lines executives said during an earnings call this week.

“New York was really not back last year, and of course we have a lot of exposure to New York,” airline president Glen Hauenstein said during the call. That all changed this year, though.

“We’re seeing really good New York [demand] not only as an origin market improvement, but New York as a destination market improvement as well,” Hauenstein said.

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Hauenstein’s comments came in response to a question about business travel demand, noting that even as the tech industry stands weaker, financial services workers have been traveling more on company business this year.

However, he noted that leisure travel — particularly high-yield leisure travelers who pay for extra legroom, premium economy, domestic first class and international business class — has also shown evidence of solid recovery in the New York market.

“What’s really interesting is the blurred lines between the yields of corporate and of high-yield leisure that didn’t exist back pre-pandemic,” Hauenstein said.

The airline is not alone in noticing more travelers returning to New York.

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Fred Dixon, the president and CEO of New York City Tourism and Conventions — the city’s official tourism organization — told TPG that the group has seen a consistent increase in tourism since the pandemic-era lows.

“In 2022, we recovered roughly 85% of our record 2019 visitation levels, welcoming a total of 56.7 million visitors,” Dixon said. “Overall visitation is expected to reach 63.3 million in 2023 and should surpass record 2019 levels by 2024.”

Those 2022 levels were a 72.5% increase over 2021.

Travel overall is expected to surge this summer. Hauenstein said about 75% of seats on Delta’s international flights this summer are already booked, although he described domestic bookings as “significantly less than that.”

If you’re hoping to go on a trip this summer but haven’t booked yet, stay tuned to TPG for the latest flight and hotel deals and summer travel tips.

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