Florida attracted nearly 30.9 million visitors during the final three months of 2021, the second consecutive quarter of drawing more tourists than in the comparable period of 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic slammed into the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.
The estimate could bring the overall number of tourists during 2021 to 122.3 million, which is less than the record 131.069 million visitors in 2019 but a 54 percent increase from the pandemic-ravaged 2020.
“So many people over the last year-and-a-half have said, ‘OK, I need to escape from the burdens of wherever I’m at with the mandates and the lockdowns and just come to Florida,’” DeSantis said during an appearance at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach.
Domestic travelers accounted for 94 percent of the visitors in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 96 percent for the entire year.
“We don’t make predictions at Visit Florida, but with these domestic numbers, once our international visitors are able to get back here, look out,” Dana Young, president and CEO of the state tourism-marketing agency said.
Florida reported 4.958 million overseas travelers in 2021, which was up from 2.047 million in 2020 but down from 9.801 million in 2019.
The state also attracted 580,000 Canadians in 2021, down from 1.358 million in 2020 and 4.988 million in 2019.