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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — After more than two years, New York City is on the verge of a tourism boom — and the city needs it.

The saxophone player in Times Square was playing the blues Wednesday night, but he’s making a lot more money doing it than he has in a long while.

After months of sparse audiences, you now have to wait in line to get a ticket to a Broadway show, but if you want a COVID test, step right up.

Charlie runs Brisbees Hot Dogs and recalls a time when there was no business in the city at all.

“It was dead, there were no people coming to Times Square,” Charlie said.

During the pandemic, tourism spending dropped in the city by more than half, but according to a new study by the city’s tourism agency, New York is likely to see a 70% increase in tourism this year.

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Approximately, 56 million people will visit the city in 2022 including 8 million from abroad. And they are spending.

“We have four shows in three days,” one tourist said.

“I’ve always wanted to come,” Samantha said.

Samantha came in for the week with 11 people from Chicago.

“During the whole pandemic, when everything was shut down it just made us want to get out more and it just made you think of everything you were missing so the second we could we packed up and headed out,” she said.

It’s nice to be making money again, too.

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“Definitely there’s more people out on the plaza then there has been the past few months, it’s nice to see them and it’s been very nice for business as well,” Charlie said.

The city has seen the big increase in tourism without tourists from China, which remains locked down.

China was the fastest growing portion of tourism in New York before the pandemic, so when they can come back, tourism could see another big spike.

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Source: This post first appeared on abc7NY

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