In the third quarter of 2021, Florida’s tourism exceeded their expectations, reporting 32.6 million visitors. In fact, Visit Florida reported that in the third quarter of 2021, the numbers surpassed those from the same period in 2019, which is before the coronavirus pandemic affected the United States and its tourism.
But then, members of the state Economic Estimating Conference stated that they are anticipating the new omicron variant will slow the international tourism for Florida. However, this was solely for international travel only, and one travel executive is now speaking out saying that they predict a strong start to 2022 despite the omicron variant and the recent holiday weekend airline cancelations.
Bruce Rosenberg, the President of HotelPlanner, recently spoke out on their business specifically, saying “Our business has not been affected by Omicron. Omicron is actually seeing a spike for us, so sales are up…We’re seeing a huge rebound.”
As President of the world’s largest group travel site, Rosenberg has “insider knowledge of what hospitality executives should expect in the upcoming months.”
“As of October, half of US adults said they planned to fly in the next six months, and that survey was taken at the height of the Delta variant. Now that the U.S. has lifted travel restrictions from 33 previously banned countries, millions of inbound travelers will still visit the U.S. in the coming months and years, regardless of the Omicron variant or future variants. Travel confidence should remain high regardless of temporary and localized travel bans due to new Covid variants. In Europe for example, more than half of British adults plan to travel overseas next year, a 46% increase compared to this time last year. Despite all the pandemic challenges and uncertainties, the return of global travel in 2022 will have positive ripple effects across the service and hospitality industries around the world. “
Florida, home to both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, is also optimistic that tourism will bounce back later in 2022, despite the omicron variant. Vesselka McAlarney, an Office of Economic and Demographic Research economist, expressed a “welcoming stance in the background of increasing government-imposed rules regarding COVID and further requirements to travel internationally.”
“As we saw under the initial lockdowns, more visitors might have switched to travel to Florida to where they can drive rather than going internationally. So, we may further benefit from that,” McAlarney said.
The omicron variant, which was first detected in southern Africa, has now spread around the world, including in various parts of the United States. The first Florida omicron variant case was reported on December 7, 2021 at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.
If you plan on visiting any Disney or Universal theme park next year, make sure you familiarize yourself with the current rules and regulations at the theme parks.
For Walt Disney World’s current safety rules, click here. For Disneyland’s current safety rules, click here. For Universal Orlando’s current safety rules, click here. For Universal Hollywood’s current safety rules, click here.
Do you have plans to visit Florida or California in the near future to see Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Orlando or Universal Hollywood? Are you worried about the omicron variant? Let us know in the comments below.