Despite Covid-19’s effect on the world, Florida continues to set records.
Florida welcomed nearly 118 million domestic visitors in 2021, the highest number in state history. Tourism surpassed 2019 pre-pandemic numbers by seven percent. The governor spoke out on this topic Tuesday at a news conference in Fort Walton Beach. “So, Florida is one of the few places in the world where more people are visiting now than before the pandemic. Compared to 2019 Quarter four, domestic tourism in 2021 Quarter four was 7 percent higher.” States Governor DeSantis.
During the annual state of the state address, DeSantis referred to Florida as “the freest state in the United States”. Current data has proven this to be true. Florida is where families and politicians from all over the US are choosing to vacation, despite their views on mask mandates and lockdown policies. Often “Lockdown politicians”, or those that have chosen to lock down their states, impose mandates and enforce restrictions, are found vacationing in our sunny state.
A Look Into “Lockdown Politicians”
Among those that have visited The Sunshine State over that past two years was Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer urged her constituents to stay home and “mask up” while she, herself, was found vacationing in April of 2021- mask-less. Others who have criticized the Florida Governor for his policies, such as CNN’s Don Lemon, have also been spotted poolside, with no mask.
Jannis Falkenstern of The Epoch Times says that there are other noteworthy visitors such as “New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and California Congressman Eric Swalwell, seen mask-less in the lobby of a Miami hotel. Both members of Congress have urged the use of masks and vaccine mandates throughout the pandemic. And have openly criticized their Republican counterparts for failing to enforce such measures.”
Of those 118 million visitors flooding to Florida’s beaches and theme parks, 1.5 million were overseas travelers. According to DeSantis, three times as many Canadians came to Florida in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to 2020.
Let’s Talk Money
With record-breaking tourism numbers, also comes record-breaking revenue being brought in. The total tourism tax numbers were at $36.7 million. Florida’s hotels drew in the highest total hotel revenue ever recorded at over $17.3 billion dollars. State statistics show that the number of nights sold increased by approximately 50 percent. Florida’s airports also took an 80 percent increase in passengers, though the Governor claims that number could be higher if lockdown measures were dropped.
DeSantis tweeted, “Our fellow Americans know that, in Florida, they can expect sunshine, great hospitality, and freedom.” People living in states with drastic COVID-19 restrictions, such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, could not wait to leave and come to Florida- and that’s exactly what they did.
The President and CEO of Visit Florida, Dana Young, joined the Republican Governor. “The fact that we had record domestic tourism in 2021 is mind-blowing. The fact that we’ve beat out New York as the No. 1 destination for international travelers is amazing,” Young said.
“So, we are killing it here in Florida. Our tourism industry is thriving.”
For more information on this topic visit www.flgov.com
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