While Labor Day Weekend brought in a surge of visitors to Florida, there could be a drop in the amount of people heading to the popular tourist state soon.
The Orlando Sentinel shared that the Florida travel industry has seen a dip recently due to the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Visit Florida Board of Directors, who works on tourism for the state, recently approved a $14.8 million federal grant in order to continue attracting visitors, even with the current slow-down in travel.
The Orlando Sentinel noted “That money is tied to $3 billion in grants made available in July through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.” Yet, the grant hasn’t been applied for or received just yet. The allocated money is meant to help maintain the recovery of tourism in the state.
Travel to Florida in the second quarter of 2021 was 223% higher than the same timeframe in 2020. Travel was also 6% higher from April 1st through June 30th this year than 2019. During the second quarter of 2021, 31.7 million domestic and international travelers came to Florida, which was only 2.2% less than 2019’s numbers.
The Orange County Comptroller, Phil Diamond, released a report in September that showed that “Tourist Development Tax collections received by Orange County for the July TDT collection month were $24,702,900. That is a 376% increase over July 2020.” The report goes on to say that while some of the updated figures are encouraging, COVID-19 is still impacting Orange County and Florida overall.
Despite there being less travel at the moment, Florida believes it will only cause a slight bump, as the holidays are around the corner. Jacob Pewitt Yancey, Visit Florida’s director of consumer insights and analytics, referenced surveys showing that “Yes, people are concerned about the delta variant. Yes, that is having an impact in the short term on people’s travel plans.
But people in general, travelers seem to be very confident that this is just a temporary bump in the road. Once you start to look out to a more medium length time horizon, people seem to believe that either the situation will pass, or they will travel anyway, even if it hasn’t passed.”
We’ll keep our eye on travel over the coming months to share all the details you need to know. Stay tuned with All Ears for the latest theme park entertainment and news coming soon.
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