The Bloomberg administration and the city's tourism agency, NYC & Company, say there's no evidence that our bedbug epidemic is scaring tourists away from New York. But that doesn't stop the Associated Press from publishing a thorough report under the headline "Bedbugs Keeping Tourists Away"! Reporter Sara Kugler Frazier even found three people who say they are reconsidering visiting NYC because of bedbug fears, and as you know, three's a trend.
Baltimore's Patty Majerik is one such trendsetter. "It sounds like you can get them anywhere, any time of day and not know it until you get home," says Majerik, who was planning a trip to Manhattan next month with her two children, ages 7 and 10. "I've got four people traveling on a train, in cabs, going to stores and theaters, and they could be in any of these places? I hate to say it, but I doubt we're going to come this time." Another petrified tourist, Suzanne Baldwin of Florida, decided to cancel her trip next month because of the parasites, losing "quite a bit of money from nonrefundable tickets" in the process.
And a yoga teacher from the New York suburbs got scared off after reading hotel guest horror stories about bedbugs on multiple hotel websites. Indeed, two recent reports of bedbug scares at the Waldorf-Astoria show that no matter how much you spend on a hotel, you could still end up on the bedbugs' menu. And it's not just visitors to New York who are getting jittery; New Yorkers headed out of town are finding themselves untouchable! Time writer Joel Stein reports that his bedbug-obsessed wife wants his parents—who are "not only traveling from New York City, the international capital of bedbugs, but also staying at two hotels before visiting us—to be hosed down with boiling water before entering our home." Which sounds like the perfect way to set the town for a visit from the in-laws.