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Florida Tourism is Down 34%, the Lowest Numbers since 2010

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Florida Tourism is Down 34%, the Lowest Numbers since 2010

The Florida tourism industry has revealed the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on visitors, whose numbers plummeted 34% in 2020 from the previous year according to data released by Visit Florida, the state tourism-marketing agency. 

The agency states that only 86.714 million people visited Florida in 2020. The lowest number since 2010.

The drop is blamed entirely on the coronavirus pandemic that has forced governments to impose strict restrictions on travel regarding testing, quarantine rules and the closure of bars, restaurants and beaches. 

Together with these alarming figures, Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young mentioned about the company’s intention to overcome the projection that the industry won’t get back on its feet until 2024. 

Our team is driven to exceed that projection, to beat that projection, because with tourism making up roughly half of all of our sales-tax revenues for the state of Florida, as goes our tourism industry, so goes the recovery of our state economy,” said Young at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in Lake Buena Vista.

On the other hand, Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research, reportedly warned authorities and the Florida tourism industry representatives about high-expenders not returning to the State over the coming months. 

Since multiple countries have advised its citizens not to fly to the U.S. and tourism is now partially depending on people driving to Florida from neighboring states, these tourists “don’t spend the same amount of time or money as foreign travelers and others who fly into the state.” according to Baker. 

Tourists biking at Miami Beach, United States
Tourists biking at Miami Beach, United States

Most of Florida was used to receiving tourists from all over the United States plus virtually the rest of the countries of the world be it over summer or in the low season. The drop has hit the state especially hard as jobs are highly dependent on international tourism and air connectivity.

Until 2019, around 1.6 million people from Florida worked tourism-related jobs. One week ago,  the U.S. Travel Association reported 4  in 10 jobs lost nationally in 2020 were in the tourism and hospitality industries.

This may explain the Florida authorities’ liberal approach on COVID-19 related restrictions. According to Governor Ron DeSantis, people may benefit from social interaction amidst the pandemic. 

With that in mind, DeSantis has limited the rights of local governments to enforce restrictions tighter than the state’s. Additionally, he has managed to, somehow, push for businesses such as bars and restaurants to stay open. 

As of today, all tourist and entertaining venues such as trails, beaches, gyms, restaurants, bars, retail stores, museums, movie theaters, concert halls and many more remain open for visitors.

Palm trees in Florida

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