Friday,  June 18, 2021  8:54 am

NYC gets ready to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to tourists

NYC gets ready to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to tourists
Pax Global Media

An I Love NY t-shirt, a Statue of Liberty fridge magnet…a shot in the arm?

Following its unveiling of a $30 million tourism campaign, New York City has set its sights on yet another travel-related venture: vaccine tourism.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday (May 6) that he plans to offer coronavirus inoculations to tourists by parking vaccination vans at Times Square and other attractions, such as Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the High Line elevated park.

The city would like to target tourists with free doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, de Blasio said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (file photo)

The Mayor said the idea sends a positive message to future visitors: this being, “Come here. It's safe, it's a great place to be and we're going to take care of you,’” he said.

“It's a show of goodwill. It's a welcome,” de Blasio said.

A destination that was once the epicentre for U.S. coronavirus cases, The Big Apple is starting to see the “real world” effects of COVID-19 vaccinations – as NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Choskhi recently put it – as virus-related hospitalizations are now cut in half among older New Yorkers.

Backed by city data showing that daily case counts of COVID-19 are ticking downwards, New York City, despite ongoing challenges, is gearing up to welcome back tourists with excitement and optimism.

NYC Reawakens -  Brooklyn Bridge Park (Julienne Schaer/NYC & Company)

The city’s $30M campaign to kickstart tourism begins in June and will involve television, digital, content marketing, social media and influencer activations.

“It’s been a very long road for all of us, without question, and we have a lot of road to traverse still, but here in New York City we are beginning to see a recovery take shape,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO at NYC & Company, the city’s marketing arm, at a press briefing on April 21.

The more, the better 

Receiving a vaccine won’t be mandatory for future NYC tourists, nor will the city track each visitor’s vaccination progress.

Mayor de Blasio noted New York State needs to modify its rules around administering shots to non-New Yorkers who don't work there, but said his team is working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to make the change.

The Mayor said “the more people get vaccinated, the better,” even if some tourists leave New York City before their vaccination kicks in.

Despite COVID-19’s devastating impact on travel and tourism, new hotels and attractions in New York City are still scheduled to open throughout the year.

Click here to see what’s coming up.

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