During the pandemic, visits dropped dramatically. But, after the start of mass vaccination, tourists again chose the state of the sun.
According to calculations by the Florida Department of Finance made in 2019, at least 15 percent of the state economy comes from tourism, making it one of the essential financial engines of the region.
As has happened around the world, with the appearance of COVID-19, visits to the state decreased dramatically during the pandemic. But according to recently revealed state data, after the start of mass vaccination, tourists again chose the form of the sun.
During the spring of this year (which in the northern hemisphere runs from April to June ), more tourists arrived in Florida than in the first quarter of the year, reaching figures of visits compared to those of 2019, before the appearance of COVID- 19.
Between April 1 and June 30 of this year, Florida attracted 31.7 million visitors, representing an increase of 16.3 percent over the first three months of the year, and is only 2, 2 percent below the number of visits registered in the same months of 2019, according to Visit Florida, the state department in charge of promoting tourism in the region.
As expected, with the revival of industry in the state, visits to Miami, the global tourist destination for Florida, also increased. On average, during June 2021, Miami-Dade County hotels were occupied at 72.2 percent of their capacity, figures comparable to what was seen before the pandemic.
Between April and June, the Miami International Airport, the great gateway to Florida, received 4,784,983 visitors, representing a 58.7 percent increase in airport arrivals compared to the first quarter of the year. Unlike what happens in other airports in the state, where the rebound is due to domestic tourism, the airport saw a substantial rise in international tourism in Miami. Between January and June this year, Miami International Airport received more international tourism than any other airport. Before the pandemic, Miami was third in several international tourists nationally behind JFK, New York, and LAX in California.
Given the importance of tourism to the region's economy, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau launched a campaign to promote Miami's parks and natural attractions nationally and internationally, in which $ 5 million was invested, which was awarded to the federal government through the COVID-19 rescue plan.
The problem is that the economic boom caused by tourism is once again in check because of the increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. In addition, the relaxation of prevention measures, combined with the Delta variant and close to half of the population in the state choosing not to be vaccinated, has made Florida once again a focus of coronavirus.
After two weeks of breaking records in the number of new coronavirus infections, with a maximum of 26 thousand diseases in 24 hours reported last Saturday, the light begins to be seen at the end of the road. Although cases continue to rise, the number of hospitalizations due to coronavirus in the state fell for the first time in two weeks.
Florida has once again become a focus of COVID-19 discourages tourism, and its economic consequences will be visible in the coming weeks.