Recent data released by Visit Florida regarding the third quarter of 2021 saw the number of U.S. travelers to Florida exceed the numbers from the same three-month period in 2020, and in 2019.
The number of domestic travelers in quarter three of 2021 was 31.204 million, 55.3% more than quarter three of 2020. With other countries loosening their COVID-19 border policies, the number of overseas and Canadian travelers was 1.226 million and 85,000, respectively, which toppled 2020 quarter three data by 604.1% and 512.3%, respectively.
Overall, the total number of visitors who visited Florida was 32.517 million, which is .3% over the amount of tourists that visited Florida in quarter three of 2019, and 60.4% more than in 2020.
While Visit Florida’s efforts in marketing to travelers from across the country has resulted in the massive jump in domestic tourism, their CEO, Dana Young, touted the resurgence of international travelers and how it could affect numbers in the coming months.
“I’m not a betting woman and I don’t make a lot of predictions, but I will tell you that I feel very, very good about our position internationally when those borders open [completely]. … We are going to see a lot of Brits and Germans and Canadians and Mexicans and Colombians and Brazilians coming to our state and spending money, starting in November.”
Besides the increase in international travelers, other factors have influenced the uptick in Florida tourism. These factors include the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations across the U.S., Florida Governor DeSantis’ efforts in keeping businesses open throughout the pandemic, the cruise ship industry returning to Florida ports, and lastly, Florida theme parks returning to pre-pandemic attendance numbers.
According to a report by The News Service of Florida, Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said last Wednesday that revenue from parks and accompanying business units – including cruise operations – for the second half of 2021 is up 26 percent, with attendance up across the board.
As for Universal Orlando – which is a division of Comcast’s NBCUniversal – Comcast CEO Brian Roberts reported that quarter three of 2021 was “the most profitable quarter in its history despite having virtually no international guests due to COVID-related travel restraints.”
A theme park that recorded less attendance than 2019 was SeaWorld, which reflected 900,000 or 11% less visitors than 2019. However, year-over-year attendance increased from 1.5 million guests in 2020, to 7.2 million guests in 2021.
Visit Florida’s influence on increasing tourism numbers in Florida each quarter could continue to be felt as the 2022 legislative session will determine whether the marketing agency will extend its life, as well as approve a requested $75 million in funding for future marketing campaigns.
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]