This March, Virginia Devlin of Chicago is headed to New York City with her daughter, a musical theater student, to celebrate two years’ worth of missed birthday trips. They’ll see Broadway shows and visit Chinatown for dim sum. Tracy Lippes, of Short Hills, N.J., is ready to go to Paris. “I can’t wait to stay in a beautiful hotel, shop, visit museums and eat at great restaurants,” Ms. Lippes said of her March trip. Greg Siskind, an immigration attorney in Memphis, is thrilled to have an in-person conference in London next month, and plans to arrive a few days early to enjoy the city with his adult daughters.
Yes, city travel is back. After more than two years of avoiding urban centers, travelers are eager to return to their favorite metropolis and swan dive into the sights, bites and sounds of a city that is not their own.
“It was a lift to everyone when the U.K. dumped Covid mandates on Jan. 26,” said Henley Vazquez, a co-founder of FORA, a travel agency in New York City. “Bookings are spiking for classic European destinations, particularly Paris and London. Clients want to reconnect with special hotels and restaurants and simply bask in the culture.”
In the United States, Shawna Owen, the president of Huffman Travel, a Chicago-based agency that specializes in luxury and family travel, is planning long weekend trips to New York City. “New York is buzzing again and clients are excited to dine at hot spots and enjoy the city’s dynamism.
”Underscoring the New York-is-back trend, the travel booking site Skyscanner reports that New York City is its top booked domestic destination so far in 2022 and the online travel agency Expedia has had a 13 percent increase in searches for New York City.
As for Europe, Paris and London are the top searched international destinations on Scott’s Cheap Flights, a service that tracks flight deals. Hotel searches on Expedia jumped 62 percent for London and 51 percent for Paris since Jan. 1, and the mobile app Hopper reports that London and Paris clock in as two of the most searched international destinations for spring 2022.
With restrictions easing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts reported an 80 percent increase in its bookings in Paris, London and New York from December to Jan. 16.
In London, the luxury travel outfit, Noteworthy, has seen bookings of its private tours to iconic British sites increase 145 percent in February over the same time in 2021. “The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has definitely been a tourist draw,” said Nicola Butler, the company’s owner and managing director. — Amy Tara Koch
This excerpt was originally featured under Destinations: Cities are back on The New York Time’s Travel Themes for 2022