Published on : Saturday, November 21, 2020
With business restrictions gradually lifted from the corona virus shutdown, Florida’s tourism industry witnessed a drop of almost 32 percent in visitors during the third quarter compared to the same period last year, as per figures released by Visit Florida yesterday.
The estimate of 22.112 million travelers from the beginning of July to the end of September is significantly below from what the state needs from the vital industry that generates handsome revenue, assisting in funding the state budget and creating up to 1.5 million jobs in earlier times.
However, the third-quarter figure was a conspicuous improvement from the 60.5 percent drop in tourism experienced in April, May and June as businesses closed or scaled back to try to limit the spread of the virus. More than 900,000 Florida residents have tested positive for COVID-19, since the pandemic started.
Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young called the third-quarter numbers encouraging, “Although out-of-state visitation was down again in the third quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to see some signs of recovery in our visitation estimates, particularly with international travel almost nonexistent.”
Young added, “These positive trends coincide with Visit Florida’s recently launched marketing campaigns that highlight all of the safe vacation opportunities that Florida currently has to offer. While we still have a long way to go, Visit Florida will continue our efforts to expedite tourism’s recovery from the pandemic so Floridians can get back to work.”
The economic impact of the outbreak could stretch across years, even if vaccines are available in the coming months. Hotels continue to announce cutbacks, and the cruise industry is expecting a slow return to the seas next year.
SeaWorld and Universal Orlando opened their Florida parks in June, with Walt Disney properties in mid-July. All imposed limits on attendance along with new health-related requirements.
All reported lower-than-expected crowds, later announcing extra layoffs. However, last week Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were increasing capacity from 25 percent to 35 percent.
For many bars and craft breweries, the third quarter was mostly a dark period.
Reopening of bars came with Visit Florida rolling out the first part of a $13 million campaign to revitalize tourism, urging Floridians to travel to other parts of the state. The third-quarter figures chiefly comprise people trekking to Florida from other parts of the country, according to Visit Florida.
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