TALLAHASSEE – Tourism to Florida during the first half of 2022 was up 20 percent from the same period last year and was higher than during the first six months of 2019, the last full year of travel before the coronavirus pandemic.

Visit Florida, the state tourism marketing agency, posted numbers online late Monday that Florida had 33.717 million visitors from April 1 to June 30, bringing the total for the first six months of this year to 69.34 million.

The second quarter number was up 5.6 percent from the same period in 2021. Tourism in the first quarter was 38.3 percent over the first quarter of 2021.

Travel from within the United States accounted for 93 percent of people who visited Florida during the second quarter and nearly 94 percent of people who visited in the first six months.

The 35.628 million visitors during the first quarter of this year was an all-time three-month record.

The drop in tourists during the second quarter was not a surprise.

Covering most of the winter, the first quarter has historically been the state’s busiest tourism period. Also, with gas prices above $4 a gallon and inflation at a four-decade high, tourism officials in June expressed concern that hotel room rates, which had been driven up by demand over the past year, were beginning to hindered travel.

“I think we’re starting to see, a little bit over the last two weeks or so, especially, inflation is actually starting to catch up to us in most markets,” said Jacob Pewitt Yancey, Visit Florida’s director of insights and analytics. of the consumer. Visit the June 9 Florida board meeting.

“Right now, overall room revenue is still growing in every market across the country because rate increases have been more than enough to offset the subdued level of demand,” Pewitt Yancey said.

However, STR, Inc., which provides data on the hotel industry, indicated in an Aug. 5 blog post that the numbers nationally were steady in the third quarter.

“Although not as high as originally expected, summer demand has been strong, ranking as the fourth highest ever since 2000 behind 2019, 2018 and 2017 in that ranking,” STR said in the post. “Summer occupancy so far is 69.5 percent, compared to 74 percent in 2019. A year ago, occupancy for the period was 68 percent.

Last year, while the state was still recovering from the early economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, 31.935 million tourists visited Florida in the second quarter and 57.703 million visited during the first half of the year.

The pandemic hit Florida in March 2020, largely shutting down the tourism industry. That year, Florida attracted just 9.7 million tourists from the beginning of April to the end of June and 39.764 million in the first half of the year.

In 2019, when Florida reached a record 131.07 million tourists, it attracted 32.265 million visitors in the second quarter and 67.76 million in the first half.

Florida has outpaced other states in returning international travelers during the pandemic, but still lags behind the 2019 total.

The state had 3.071 million overseas travelers during the first half of 2022, with 1.748 million in the second quarter. In 2021, Florida reached 1.5 million out-of-state travelers during the first half of the year.

About 1.207 million Canadians visited Florida during the first half of 2022, with 594,000 in the second quarter. Only 96,000 Canadians went to Florida in the first half of 2021. For the first half of 2019, 2.294 million Canadians came to Florida.

Florida attracted a total of 4.63 million international travelers in 2021, a roughly 45 percent market share of foreign travelers to the U.S., which easily surpassed the 22 percent for the next highest state, New York.

Florida in 2019 had just under 13.9 million international tourists.

The Biden administration in June dropped a requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 within a day of boarding flights to the United States. The ban was one of the government’s last remaining mandates, designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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