Florida witnesses drop in tourism numbers in second quarter

 Monday, August 21, 2023 


According to projections made public on Wednesday by the state’s tourist marketing agency, fewer people visited Florida during the second quarter of 2023 than they did in the same period the previous year.

Florida maintained a modest lead over the nation’s record-breaking pace of tourists in 2022 with an expected 33.092 million tourists during the quarter. But compared to the second quarter of 2022, when it totalled 33.485 million, the statistic for the months of April through June showed a 1.2 percent decline.

The majority of visitors to Florida are from other regions of the country, and their numbers decreased by a projected 2.4 percent from the same time in 2022.

The Visit Florida tourism marketing organization’s president and chief executive, Dana Young, cited tougher competition from other jurisdictions and nations that had longer pandemic closures than Florida. She did, however, also highlight Florida’s surge in foreign visitors this year.

“We compete globally, not just here in the U.S.,” Young told The News Service of Florida.

“Destinations are opening up. And when they do, they’re going to be using all those dollars they didn’t spend (during the pandemic) to try and lure their people back. So, the fact that we have these massive increases in international visitation is great.”

Due to their opposition to a number of decisions regarding issues like how Black history is taught and limiting diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, organizations like the NAACP, Equality Florida, and the League of United Latin American Citizens recently issued travel advisories about Florida.

However, Young said that the cautions had no meaningful impact on tourism.

“We are continuing to see a very diverse group of vacationers that are coming to Florida,” Young said. “They are spending money here, supporting our state economy. We value all of them, and we continue to encourage people to come.”

The COVID-19 epidemic severely damaged the tourism sector in 2020, and foreign travelers have been slower to come back than American tourists.

The now-lifted pandemic travel restrictions, negative currency exchange rates, and protracted visa wait periods abroad have all been factors.

“We started really leaning in to bringing back international visitation in 2021,” Young said. “And have continued that push.”

According to projections, Florida welcomed 1.941 million anticipated foreign tourists during the second quarter of 2023, an increase from 1.748 million during the same period in 2022.In the first and second quarters of this year, Florida welcomed 34.646 million and 30.305 million US tourists, respectively.Additionally, it drew 846,000 and 1.305 million Canadian visitors, respectively, in the first and second quarters.

The total decline in tourism statistics from year to year was the first quarterly decline since the first three months of 2021.However, Florida’s overall visitor count during the first half of 2023 increased by 1.3% compared to the same period in 2022.Additionally, the figure was higher than it had been in the first half of 2019 before the epidemic.As other states strive to follow up, some tourist officials have recently issued warnings that a decline is to be anticipated.

International travel this year is still below pre-pandemic levels, despite recent gains.

An estimated 2.15 million Canadians and 3.74 million foreign tourists visited the state in the first half of the year. In the first half of 2019, Florida saw 5.2 million foreign tourists and 2.4 million Canadians.

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