In the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” interview, Nicholas & Lence Communications CEO Cristyne Nicholas, who helped rebuild New York City’s travel industry following the 9/11 attacks, talks with Doug Simon about how the city can get tourists to return in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

Nicholas notes that the city’s response to 9/11 had a degree of focus and unity that are missing from the steps it is taking to counter COVID’s effects. From the very beginning, she says, the mission post-9/11 was “to make sure that the world knew that New York City was open for business, and that we would work together and we were all on the same page.”

However, she tells Simon that with COVID, “there’s all of this difference of opinion which is making not only the business owners confused, but also the general public.” To counter that, leaders to step up and “really make sure that everybody is, again, on the same page.”

While achieving that unity might be something of a challenge, Nicholas says there are strategies travel PR pros can use right now to help ease the damages COVID has wrought.

One of those is to get back out on the street. “You really do need to see for yourself firsthand what is going on on the ground level for you to be able to evaluate and then tell your clients, or how best to advise your clients on moving forward.”

She also thinks that an emphasis on safety can help lessen anxieties about travel. “As long as you know what the rules are and how to take care of yourself and others,” she says, “you really shouldn’t have to avoid much at all.”

There is one plus, however. With fewer tourists, those who do come “can enjoy tourism like no other time, because it’s not crowded.”

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D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.