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Travellers are continuing to stay away from New York, new research has suggested, more than three weeks after Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage across the East Coast of the US.

A spokesman for Skyscanner, the price comparison website, said searches for flights to New York remained around 30 per cent down on last year, although he said the city was showing “gradual signs of recovery”.

However, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic claimed that sales of flights to the city, and other destinations in the US, remained strong.

A spokesman for Virgin said that, although sales dipped in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, bookings for travel in December were 19 per cent higher than the same month in 2011. BA said the situation had “returned to normal” on routes to the US.

NYC & Company, the official body for tourism to the city, said the city was “open for business”, although a number of attractions remain closed.

They include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the New York Aquarium on Coney Island, and parts of the South Street Seaport shopping district.

Four hotels, the Best Western Seaport Inn, the Holiday Inn Express New York City, the World Centre Hotel, and the Wyndham Garden Long Island, are also temporarily closed, as are a handful of restaurants and shops.

The Foreign Office warns that power outages are still affecting coastal areas of New York and New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Times Square in New York City. Carl MiKoy /