New York City hotel rooms just got discounted for the summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed an executive order suspending the city's 5.875% hotel occupancy tax from June through August. The move is an effort to entice tourists to return to a reopening New York City whose hospitality industry has been devastated by the pandemic.
Broadway's famous theaters aren't scheduled to reopen until September, but Radio City Music Hall is slated to welcome back visitors in June. Meanwhile, Shakespeare in the Park is set to return in July.
Museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and American Museum of Natural History are open, and New York's iconic Circle Line sightseeing cruises have restarted. Outdoor dining curfews and restrictions on indoor bar seating have also been lifted. Indoor dining curfews are scheduled to end at the end of the month.
Still, many travelers appear reluctant to return to the bustling world-class cities that have drawn them in for years. A recent survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that just 29% of people had any interest in traveling to an urban setting this summer.
In making his announcement, De Blasio's office also suggested Big Apple hotels further lower their room prices to coax more visitors back during a summer when road trips and national parks seem to be at the top of travelers' lists.
Room rates in New York City are already lower than they've been in years, creating some bargains for travelers to explore a destination whose prices can feel astronomical.
The Sofitel in the heart of midtown Manhattan can be had for just $138 a night for a weekend in June, over 20% less than its usual rate, according to Google Hotels data. Rooms at The Plaza, which sits at the edge of Central Park, can be had for about $660 a night for a weekend in June, an 18% discount from the usual price.
The average New York hotel price this summer is $212, according to data from Kayak. That's down nearly 25% from 2019, but up 7% from last month.
As Matt Clarke, Kayak's VP for marketing in North America, noted, "With vaccinations becoming widely distributed and local restrictions lifting, we're seeing travel demand pick up, which is reflected in more recent price trends."
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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