Economy adds 431K jobs in March. Will Florida see more tourists?

As the nation's unemployment rate drops, tourism is expected to pick back up. A local financial expert predicts local tourism will skyrocket this summer, but worker shortages and fluctuating gas prices will cause some challenges.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% in March, and with more people working, Don Wiggins, the CEO of Heritage Capitol Group, predicts this will boost tourism rates in the Sunshine State.

“The tourism is definitely going to make a comeback — it already has made a comeback,” said Wiggins.

Right now, there’s an uptick in air travel.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, the strongest travel demand is for domestic and short-haul international trips.

Fluctuating fuel prices is making airfare more expensive.

Wiggins believes this will draw in tourism locally.

“That’s going to limit how far they’re willing to travel. So, I think you’re going to see more people stay closer to home just because of that,” said Wiggins.

In 2021, Visit Jacksonville, the city’s public-private tourism marketing agency, reported a strong return of tourism.

The agency reported more than 164,167 hotel bookings through the city.

Wiggins says the Russia-Ukraine conflict could be the deciding factor on international tourism in the Jacksonville area. He says there’s no way to predict what is going to happen exactly, but if the conflict worsens it could lead to less international travelers.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.