TALLAHASSEE – Tourism to Florida in the first half of 2022 was up 20 percent from the same period last year and was higher than in the first six months of 2019, the last full year of travel before the pandemic. coronavirus
Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency, released figures online Monday afternoon that estimated Florida had 33.717 million visitors from April 1 through June 30, which raising the total for the first six months of this year to 69.34 million.
The second quarter figure was up 5.6% over the same period in 2021. First quarter tourism was up 38.3% from the first quarter of 2021.
Travel from the United States accounted for 93% of people who visited Florida in the second quarter and nearly 94% of people who visited in the first six months.
The 35.628 million visitors in the first quarter of this year was a three-month record.
The drop in tourists in the second quarter was not a surprise.
Covering most of the winter, the first quarter has historically been the state’s busiest tourist period. Also, with gas prices above $4 a gallon and inflation at a four-decade high, tourism officials in June expressed concern that hotel room rates, which had increased by the demand over the last year, were beginning to make travel difficult.
“I think we’re starting to see, especially in the last two weeks or so, inflation is starting to catch up in most markets,” said Jacob Pewitt Yancey, director of consumer research and analytics at Visit Florida, during a Visit the Florida board meeting on June 9.
“Now, overall room revenue continues to rise in every market in the state, because rate growth has been more than enough to offset the decline in the level of demand,” Pewitt Yancey said.
However, STR, Inc., which provides data to the hotel industry, said in an Aug. 5 blog post that national numbers were flat in the third quarter.
“While not as high as initially expected, summer demand … has been strong, ranking as the fourth highest since 2000, behind 2019, 2018 and 2017 in that order,” STR said in the post. “Summer occupancy so far is 69.5%, compared to 74% in 2019. A year ago, occupancy for the period was 68%.”
Last year, as the state was still emerging from the initial economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, 31.935 million tourists visited Florida in the second quarter and 57.703 million in the first half of the year.
The pandemic hit Florida in March 2020, largely shutting down the tourism industry. That year, Florida attracted just 9.7 million tourists from the beginning of April to the end of June and 39.764 million in the first half of the year.
In 2019, when Florida reached a record 131.07 million tourists, it attracted 32.265 million visitors in the second quarter and 67.76 million in the first half.
Florida has outperformed other states in bringing back international travelers during the pandemic, but still lags behind 2019 totals.
The state had 3.071 million overseas travelers in the first half of 2022, with 1.748 million in the second quarter. In 2021, Florida reached 1.5 million overseas travelers in the first half of the year.
An estimated 1.207 million Canadians visited Florida in the first half of 2022, with 594,000 in the second quarter. Only 96,000 Canadians arrived in Florida in the first half of 2021. In the first half of 2019, 2.294 million Canadians arrived in Florida.
Florida attracted a total of 4.63 million international travelers in 2021, a market share of roughly 45 percent of foreign travelers to the United States, which easily surpassed the 22 percent of the next highest state, New York.
Florida in 2019 had just under 13.9 million international tourists.
The Biden administration in June lifted the requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 within a day of boarding flights to the United States. The ban was one of the last remaining government mandates designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.