As we continue to emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, several cities in the US are starting to see more travel activity as a result. While some precautions still remain in place, it’s evident by the numbers that consumers really missed their travel.
And, with travel, comes commercial real estate interest, specifically in the hospitality subsector. But what is it about these seven cities that have been attracting so many people? Read on to learn more.
#1 – Austin, TX
Celebrated as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin sees over 30 million domestic visitors every year. That’s no surprise when you consider it’s home to the famous SXSW and Austin City Limits (ACL) music festivals, both of which are heavily attended.
In addition to these festivals and the dozens of other live music venues, Austin is also home to the renowned racing track, Circuit of The Americas (COTA), which is the location of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix race.
Austin also has a wide variety of food and craft beer selections — especially on Sixth Street — plenty of outdoor recreational activities, and museums to visit.
#2 – Maui, HI
With Hawaii being one of the most tropical locations within the US, it’s no wonder that Maui is expected to see a boom in visitors in 2023.
In 2022, Maui saw almost three million visitors, a 95% increase from 2021 when COVID-19 restrictions were still in place for people wanting to visit the island. Now, with restrictions fully lifted, travel experts expect to see even more visitors flock to Maui for its white sand beaches and beautiful scenery.
Visitors can take in all that Hawaii has to offer and go kayaking, learn to surf, explore the Road to Hana, go whale watching, eat delicious cuisine, and much more.
#3 – New Orleans, LA
Whether you’re going there for a bachelor or bachelorette trip or you just want to celebrate Mardi Gras in the French Quarter, you won’t be alone. Not when over 19 million people visit the Big Easy every year. In fact, in 2022, New Orleans was named the number three top destination for city lovers in the US.
Visitors like to partake in ghost tours, bar hopping, and the melting pot of delicious French, African and American cuisine. During Mardi Gras, the downtown area comes to life with parades, costume events, and street parties.
#4 – Lake Tahoe, CA
Whether you’re going there to ski or to swim, Lake Tahoe has it all. Lake Tahoe is a resort city in California that sees over 15 million people every year. Lake Tahoe is home to popular beaches like Ski Run Beach and ski resorts like the famous Heavenly Mountain Resort.
As one of the oldest lakes in the world at over two million years old, it’s no wonder this area has become a tourist attraction for people all over the US. Aside from famous ski resorts and beautiful beaches, Lake Tahoe also has plenty of restaurants, shopping, casinos, and bars to check out, as well.
#5 – Chicago, IL
The Windy City has many tourist attractions that make it a popular destination for travelers in the US. In 2023, Chicago is continuing to bounce back from lower tourism numbers it saw during the pandemic. In 2019 the city saw over 60 million visitors; in 2020, that number fell to 17 million.
But in the summer of 2022, Chicago had a 90% “recovery rate” where it saw full occupancy at hotels and well-attended events and attractions. It continues to recover and this summer, Chicago expects to see even more of a travel boom, potentially back to pre-pandemic levels.
#6 – Portland, ME
This charming, quaint New England coastal city is quickly becoming a tourist destination for people who want to spend time by the ocean in a quieter setting. Over 5 million people visit Portland every year and spend over $682 million.
Visitors can stay in Portland to visit Portland Head Light, go whale watching, or check out the many craft breweries and unique restaurants. They can also head north to the famous Acadia National Park to check out all Maine has to offer.
#7 – Charleston, SC
In 2022, Charleston saw over 7 million visitors, up from 2 million in 2015. That equals out to nine tourists for everyone resident in the metro area. People go to Charleston for the mix of downtown nightlife and quiet resort-town beach life.
Visitors can check out the Charleston Market downtown before heading to one of the many bars and restaurants. Or they can spend their time in Folly Beach, soaking up the sun.