NEWS: COVID-19 Omicron Variant Predicted to Have “Dampening Effect” on International Tourism in Florida

The newest variant of COVID-19 is called the Omicron, and it has sparked a resurgence in caution, in the form of health and safety measures as well as travel restrictions.

Indoor Mask Sign at Disney World

Recently, the state economists in Florida re-evaluated their expectations for travel and tourism. They now have some revised thoughts for how many people will visit Florida in 2022, as well as where those people will be coming from.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the state economists in Florida “anticipate the new omicron variant of the coronavirus will slow, at least temporarily, Florida’s resurging pace of tourism, particularly the return of international visitors.”

Orlando International Airport

In October (before the Omicron variant was detected), Orlando said they expected to see a big rise in tourism from international visitors especially, as restrictions were eased for travel from foreign countries.

Orlando International Airport

Recently, tourism has been picking up quickly in Florida. In the second quarter of 2021, the state saw 31.7 million visitors, a 16.3% rise from the first quarter. The third quarter built on that progress with 32.6 million visitors, which was 2 million more than the forecasted number. In November, tourism numbers even topped those seen before the pandemic began.

Orlando International Airport

Now that the Omicron variant has entered the equation, experts are saying that international tourism will likely slow down. Currently, the U.S. has some travel restrictions (particularly restricting travel to and from countries in southern Africa, where cases of the Omicron variant were first found). But other international tourists may stay home, even if travel is not restricted, out of an abundance of caution.


Florida economists are staying positive, though. They mentioned that tourism numbers might continue to rise in Florida if people living in America choose to vacation locally instead of traveling internationally. People with plans to travel overseas may opt for a trip closer to home and thus consider Florida instead.

Driving to Disney World

The return of more international tourists would still be more profitable for Florida, as those visitors tend to stay longer and spend more money in the state.

Holiday crowds at the Orlando International Airport

The revised predictions by the Florida economists may impact Disney’s projections on when the theme parks could recover from the loss of international tourism. Previously, Disney stated that they expected to recover by the fiscal end of 2022. With the new variant and corresponding travel restrictions, this recovery may take longer than initially expected.

Disney World Entrance

Keep following AllEars for more updates on the Omicron variant and how it might impact your future vacations.

Click Here to See How the Omicron Variant Could Impact Your Disney World Trip

Are you visiting Florida for a vacation soon? Let us know in the comments.

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