NEW YORK — The City that Never Sleeps has long attracted tourists who visit the city’s many tourist destinations, such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
On rainy days, many flock to the city’s numerous museums.
Produce distributors, however, say they have noticed a slowing in the tourist trade.
Carlos Garcia, general manager of Krisp-Pak Sales Corp., said he has heard tourist visits in Manhattan have declined.
Millions of tourists visit sites such as New York's Times Square, but produce wholesalers say they believe tourist traffic to the Big Apple has declined.
“For Christmas, every customer that goes into the city told me there is no one in the city,” he said. “One told me his stores are usually in good locations. He told me there was no business. No one in the city. That is a negative for us all.”
Garcia said he expected business to be really busy during the holidays but found he was ordering less than normal.
Alfie Badalamenti, vice president of Coosemans New York Inc., said his visits to Manhattan showed him that the city’s tourist business wasn’t as busy as last year.
Badalamenti said corporations weren’t sponsoring as many holiday parties this Christmas season as they did in the past, which consequently lowers catering volume.
“The corporations aren’t doing a lot of parties because they cannot afford it,” he said. “There’s very little going on. It’s sad. They’re all waiting for the parties.”
The weaker dollar has brought one bright spot.
The number of European tourists that like to visit the city has held steady or increased. Many plan trips specifically to purchase lower-priced clothing for their entire family, Badalamenti said.
Jeff Young, buyer for A&J Produce Corp., said tourist visits to the largest U.S. metropolitan area remain significant.
“Tourism is big in New York,” he said. “Tourism is still good in Manhattan. With a weak dollar, the money of visiting Europeans goes a lot farther. They get more value here.”
Benjamin Friedman, owner of Riviera Produce Corp., Englewood, N.J., said says tourism is holding its own from being down a year ago.
“There’s maybe a slight pickup, but it’s very slight,” he said. “People are coming in for special occasions. On certain nights of the week you will see the tourist areas are bustling, while on other nights it’s quiet.”