Tourism, the biggest sector in Florida’s economy, continues to benefit from the state’s earlier than average reopening and from travelers substituting international visits with domestic trips. Domestic visitors now represent 98% of all travel to Florida, VISIT FLORIDA data through the first quarter of 2021 showed. Length of stay for domestic travelers increased from about four days in 2020 to 6.2 days in 2021 – domestic travel travelers are staying longer than before. However, this tourism number might include those who came to Florida to work remotely escaping their state due to covid restrictions.
As we are slowly approaching the holiday season, a growing number of snowbirds, many now vaccinated expect to head south for the winter despite the Delta variant spread. About 90% of the estimated 1 million snowbirds who travel annually from Canada, say they will head for warmer areas like Florida and Arizona compared to 30% last year – assuming land border will be open for non-essential travel.
Business travel may not recover that soon according to the results of a new survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. More than half of 2.200 surveyed business travelers, or 52%, said they likely will cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling amid rising Covid-19 cases. That is bad news especially for the Orlando area`s hospitality sector that thrives on a mix of leisure and business convention traffic.
Bottomline is that Florida businesses benefiting from domestic tourists and snowbirds like the hotel and restaurant industries could be cautiously optimistic about the upcoming winter season.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Florida State Websites, floridatrends.com