Florida Beach

Florida Tourism Down In 2023 Relative To ’22, But Far Ahead Of Pre-Pandemic Mark

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Florida Beach (File)

Tourism in Florida receded in 2023 for the first time in years, yet still remained ahead of the pre-COVID pace, according to Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism agency.

Visit Florida reported recently that the Sunshine State welcomed 135 million visitors in 2023.

That was down from 137.4 million in 2022, but still ahead of the 131.1 million who came in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

Visit Florida’s top official blamed Bidenflation for the slight dip, while also predicting the numbers would escalate again soon.

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“Even as we faced the challenges of rising travel costs and widespread inflation, Florida’s tourism sector not only persevered but flourished,” Dana Young, Visit Florida’s president and CEO said in a statement.

 “From record air travel numbers to the significant return of international visitors, Florida continues to shine.”

The number of visitors was kept high by foreigners.

“Overseas visitation,” as Visit Florida called it in a press release, went way up in 2023, demonstrating Florida continues to be the “preferred destination for international travelers.”

Tourism from Canada specifically was up 45.5% in 2023, compared to 2022.

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Visits by all other overseas travelers during 2023 increased 18.3% year over year.

“This performance is noteworthy considering the increasing financial burden of inflation and rising travel costs faced by travelers,” Visit Florida said.

Other highlights from Visit Florida’s analysis include:

  • 122.9 million tourists from elsewhere in the U.S., which was up 4.9% since 2019.
  • Last year was the closest that overseas visitation had come to full recovery since the pandemic began.
  • Canadian visitation was down by 6.5% from 2019, which happened to be a “significant” improvement from the 35.7% decrease witnessed in 2022.
  • Despite problems in the U.S. airline industry, the air/non-air split for domestic visitors to Florida in 2022 was 37.3% to 62.7%, which set a new record for air visitation.

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