Study Finds Post-Pandemic Recovery Fueled by Tourism

Study Finds Post-Pandemic Recovery Fueled by Tourism

Spotlight on Boston (photo via Collette)

A new study found that tourist-centric cities that benefit from leisure travel are recovering from the pandemic at a much quicker rate than others.

According to research published by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy provided to Bloomberg News Service, tourism hotspots such as Orlando and Honolulu are reaping more hotel nights, and the resulting tax income, than other large cities across the country – more so than cities that also rely on business travel, which remains stalled more than two years after the onset of COVID-19.

Business travel still lags well behind leisure travel in the wake of the pandemic.

“People will pay a lot for leisure travel, especially in traditional leisure destinations,” University of Chicago professor Justin Marlowe, who co-authored the research with Tom Hazinski, told Bloomberg. “Meanwhile, on the commercial travel side, now that meetings can be done via Zoom and people are less excited to travel to certain kinds of destinations, you actually have the opposite.”

According to the research, cities that previously had a thriving business and convention clientele to support leisure travel were lagging behind other cities that more heavily leaned toward straight tourism.

“I think part of what may be delaying the recovery in business travel is the economy, with a lot of people predicting a recession,” Richard Schwam, a municipal-bond analyst at AllianceBernstein LP, said. “But it still seems to me that the type of business travel where you’re trying to go out and get more business, which always seems to me like the primary driver of business travel, is hard to replace with Zoom.”

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