Florida’s Travel Industry: Recovery Signs? Opportunity?
Could there be some innovative approaches to marketing travel coming, too?
No. The pandemic is not over. No. Things are not “back to normal.” However, there are signs, really hopeful notes, which point to a return to form for Florida’s travel industry.
And they seem to be multiplying, even over the past few weeks.
Florida’s Travel Industry: December to January
At the end of last year, Adam Thomas, Chair of Destinations Florida noted two competing sets of info in an op-ed in The Palm Beach Post:
- According to a December survey, Florida’s tourism industry is starting to see positive trends in employee retention, an increase in the average hotel occupancy rate, and higher percentages of revenue and profit since July.
- But the threat to tourism is far from over. Research conducted by Destination Analysts indicates nearly 58 percent of Americans surveyed either agree or strongly agree that they plan to avoid all travel until the threat of COVID-19 is diminished.
[T]he outlook for travel in 2021 suggests people will start traveling again as the COVID-19 vaccination effort takes greater shape. A recent coronavirus travel sentiment survey from Destination Analysts, which provides market research data to the U.S. Travel Association, found 59% of travelers are optimistic that COVID-19 vaccine developments offer hope for a sense of normalcy within the next six months.
Some of the interesting notes from the article included:
- Orlando International Airport announced on Jan. 8 that not only was air traffic stronger than expected during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, but it also operated as the busiest airport in the country for 18 of the holiday period’s 21 days.
- A recent forecast from the U.S. Travel Association showed travel spending is likely to increase 23.2% to $760 billion in 2021, gradually increasing to pre-pandemic levels by 2024. The association’s data found travel spending in the U.S. was $617 billion in 2020, down 45% from the year prior.
- About 63% of U.S. travelers indicated they plan to travel within the next six months, according to the most recent polling from ADARA, a travel data consulting firm. Visit Florida is using that data to track travel intent trends.
And potential tourists and, of course, theme park visitors are sure to be hearing more and more about the many reasons to head to Florida even as the United States works to put the pandemic behind us.
Information Is Key
In a whitepaper entitled, “Destination Promotion: Empowering Florida’s Growth” Destinations Florida reminded it’s members:
Even though Florida is well regarded as a premium tourism destination, we still face serious obstacles to getting visitors to come here. These obstacles fall into two main categories: competition and misinformation/ misperceptions.”
Here’s hoping that as Florida looks to overcome the many obstacles it faces in 2021, some smart intern at Walt Disney World points out that promotions (in the form of discounts, packages) might just pack ’em in.
Finally, when that happens, MickeyTravels will be there to help.