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Tourism in Florida hits an all-time high after borders reopen

After nearly two years of isola­tion and border closures due to Covid-19, one of the top U.S. tourist destinations is showing signs of a rebound to pre-pandemic levels. With the Thanksgiving holiday, Miami International Airport receiveD a record crowd, with an 11% increase in passengers compared to the same period in 2019.

According to airport authorities, about 140,000 people passed through the site per day, with 160,000 passengers entering and leaving the city, according to CBS Miami. With the move­ment, security has been beefed up, as have requests for travelers to arrive early to avoid flight delays.

The expectation is to have a even greater num­bers for Christmas and New Years.

“This represents more visitors and job creation as our tourism industry and economy continue to recover,” celebrated Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Since November, the U.S. has lifted the ban on flights from 33 countries, South America, Europe, and Asia. Visitors still need to show proof of vaccination and a recent negative Covid test, with a few exceptions.

Thanksgiving is a preview of what will be the first vacation season in the region after the massive vaccination of the population and the reopening of borders. The mild temperatures in Florida during the harsh North American winter is one of the main tourist attractions during this period – and has mobilized the local trade to re­ceive visitors from other countries. Canada, for example, is considered one of the main source markets of tourists for Florida, especially for the Orlando parks.

This international movement promises to consolidate the resumption of local tourism. Ac­cording to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Sunshine State received 32.5 million travelers between July and September, the vast majority domestic flow. This represents a small increase of 0.3% compared to summer 2019 – last year, the drop was 37%, the governor disclosed in a statement last Tuesday, November 23. Accord­ing to the official tourism agency Visit Florida, the volume of international tourists in this period exceeded the 2019 result by 7%. These were the first positive results since Covid-19 was detected in the state.

Photos: Miami design district, universal studios in orlando and saint augustine

The Tampa region also tallied historic numbers, given the pandemic context. The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport in Pinel­las County had its busiest month this July, with a throughput of 262,000 passengers. Hotel occupancy, at 67%, also exceeded the rate for the same period two years ago (64%) – in terms of collec­tions, the growth was 17%, according to the tourism promotion agency in Hillsborough County.

“We were able to set these records because in Florida we kept busi­nesses open and ensured that the population could keep working,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“HISTORIC MOBILITY” ATTRACTS BUSINESSES AND NEW RESI­DENTS

In addition to tourism, Florida has benefited from the context of remote work and the migration of businesses and high-skilled professionals. Since the start of the pandemic, the state has been highlighted by a series of investments by large corporations, the rise of startups to billion-dollar company status (there are a num­ber of unicorns based in Miami, for example), and events focused on technology and the 21st-century economy – such as the largest digital currency convention held in June.

The sunny climate is not the only reason: in addition to lower business taxes, real estate values are still appreciably lower than in other centers such as New York and San Francisco. Orlando, for example, has received a $450 million investment from KPMG for the development of a global training center – the largest ever made by the company.

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