Is the sun set to shine again on a rebounding Florida tourism economy?December 12, 20222 min read
It was a tough couple of years for the Florida tourism industry. With flights restricted, travel discouraged and theme parks closed or limiting the number of guests, Florida felt the full economic brunt of the pandemic when the tourists stopped coming.
To put it in perspective: In 2020, Walt Disney World took a $7 billion loss.
But with COVID all but a memory, the rebound already is in full swing with visitors and their disposable income returning to the Sunshine State.
Florida tourism exploded to record numbers as the state has welcomed 104.5 million visitors so far this year, a 15.3 percent increase over the same time period in 2021, according to the offices of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Visit Florida.
In the third quarter alone, Florida welcomed 35.1 million tourists – a 6.9 increase from the same period in 2021 and the fifth quarter in a row that saw overall visitation surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
About 32.6 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in the third quarter period of 2022. Islander News - December 2022
But still after such a slowdown, should we be cautious?
- What can tourism operators, hoteliers and the rest of the hospitality industry expect for 2023?
- With COVID no longer a deterrent, will a shaky economy be the next shoe to drop?
- Or, after being stuck at home for so long, will visitors help places such as Disney, Universal and LEGOLAND become recession-proof?
These are great questions, and if you are a journalist covering the 2023 tourism season in Florida, let us help.
Peter Ricci, Ph.D., is a clinical associate professor and director of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program in Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. He is a hospitality industry veteran with more than 20 years of managerial experience in segments including food service, lodging, incentive travel and destination marketing.
Peter is available to speak with the media about space-travel tourism as well as other topics, including the labor shortage in hospitality and tourism. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.
Peter Ricci, Ed.D. Clinical Associate Professor and Director
Peter Ricci is an expert in food service, lodging, incentive travel, and destination marketing.