US tourists flocking back to Florida beyond pre-pandemic levels
20th August 2021

The Villages in Florida was the fastest-growing metro area this decade: Census Bureau

FOX Business’ Ashley Webster provides an inside look at The Villages, a 55-plus Florida community and the fastest-growing U.S. metro area between 2010 and 2020, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Americans are vacationing in Florida at levels higher than even before the coronavirus hit, sparking celebration from the Sunshine State's governor and its tourism marketing firm.

Visit Florida, the official marketing corporation for the state, announced Thursday that during the second quarter of this year, the state hosted 30.6 million domestic tourists. That number is a 216% increase over 2020 and a 6% boost from spring of 2019, before COVID-19 emerged.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) (AP Newsroom)

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"Florida continues to serve as an example for the country that when you reject lockdowns and unnecessary mandates, your economy will thrive," Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement. "Not only did Florida have more visitors in the second quarter than we did in 2020, but the data shows that domestic visitation has already fully recovered to 2019 levels."

"I’m grateful for the dedication of thousands of Florida business owners, who demonstrated the highest commitment to their employees and their customers, and I’m proud of Visit Florida’s hard work to market the Sunshine State," he continued, adding, "the revitalization of our tourism industry will have a positive impact on every Floridian."

Visit Florida said that a campaign it launched last fiscal year is credited with drawing in $24.5 million in total bookings to the state, $16 million of which were for folks headed to Orlando where Walt Disney World is located.

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While Americans have come flocking back to Florida, tourism from other countries is lagging. Citing ongoing restrictions from other countries, Visit Florida reported that 1.1 million international tourists came to the state in Q2 in a significant drop from the 3.5 million visitors who came from other countries in the second quarter of 2019.

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