Clay County leaders exploring huge waterfront shopping district, other projects to boost tourism
Clay County leaders are eyeing major improvements to their tourism industry that could bring everything from a huge waterfront shopping district in Green Cove Springs to a major convention center and outdoor parks.
Visit Florida aims to counter storm-ravaged images of state with new tourism campaign
Images of storm-ravaged coastlines and ruined buildings have dominated headlines for a week since Hurricane Ian made landfall. It’s not the image the state’s tourism marketing agency wants to project to the rest of the country.
Florida tourism officials look to expand marketing efforts
The next target audience for Visit Florida will be the West Coast, expanding earlier efforts that targeted travelers from East Coast cities who could drive or take short flights to Florida. “Think California, Oregon and Washington state,” Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young said during an online meeting Friday of the Visit Florida Executive Committee. Ad“My phone’s been blowing up about the president’s COVID task force wanting Florida to shut down all bars, restaurants and gyms,” said committee member Carol Dover, who is president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. House Republican leaders in recent years have criticized spending by Visit Florida, which faced a renewed threat during the 2020 legislative session of being put out of business. AdIn addition to the $50 million in funding, lawmakers last year extended the authorization of Visit Florida to Oct. 1, 2023.
Florida analysts point to tourism uptick next year
Short- and long-term outlooks from a panel known as the Florida Economic Estimating Conference indicate people, mostly from other states, could travel to Florida in close to pre-coronavirus pandemic numbers in 2022. Meanwhile, overall visitor numbers would be just short of the fiscal year 2019 total by fiscal year 2022 and surpass record-setting 2019 by fiscal year 2023. In the outlooks Tuesday, analysts projected overseas visitors could total about 3.7 million in the 2022 fiscal year, nearly one-third of the 10.9 million from the 2019 fiscal year. Accounting for nearly 3.6 million visitors in the 2019 fiscal year, the number has plummeted in the current year. Walt Disney had earlier informed the state of about 18,000 layoffs occurring at Florida properties starting in December.
Forecaster: In 2021 expect sizable Georgia tourism recovery
ATLANTA – An economic forecaster says Georgia should expect to see substantial recovery of its tourism industry next year after hotels and other businesses that rely on travelers lost billions to the coronavirus pandemic. Adam Sacks, president of the firm Tourism Economics, made the prediction during a virtual summit hosted by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. His presentation Wednesday showed that travel spending in Georgia dropped $8.6 billion between March and August compared to the same period last year. Still, tourism spending has steadily begun to recover in the months since Georgia began lifting its coronavirus lockdown in late April. According to Sacks, Georgia lost 17% of its travel and leisure jobs since February — making it the state’s hardest-hit job sector during the pandemic.
Florida looks to draw tourists amid ‘evolving’ circumstances
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Visit Florida intends to use marketing dollars unspent from late winter and spring, as the coronavirus took hold, to get people to again explore the state. International travelers to the United States, with Florida the first scheduled stop, decreased 45.8 percent in the first four months of the year from the same time in 2019, according to Visit Florida. Visit Florida has previously pointed to potential long-term effects of the coronavirus on the tourism industry, saying people are expected to initially prefer short drives rather than long flights. Florida hotels lost nearly $3.5 billion in revenue between March 1 and May 30, Pewitt-Yancey said. Nearly 40 percent of people who filed unemployment claims in Florida between March 15 and April 21 came from the tourism sector.
Phase 2 of reopening Florida good news for tourism economy
That’s good news for the state’s economy, but recent increases in COVID-19 cases have some warning visitors to use caution before planning that next vacation. As part of Phase Two, theme parks can operate at 50% capacity. Universal opened at 35% capacity on Friday, and Disney won’t begin opening its parks until July. But Orlando State Sen. Linda Stewart is urging caution before racing off to the theme parks. If you’d like to see the COVID-19 tourism data collected by Visit Florida for yourself, click here.
Coronavirus pandemic slashes Florida tourism numbers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Tourism in Florida fell 10.7% in the first quarter of 2020 from the same period a year earlier, and the estimate may be optimistic. Visit Florida also has pointed to potentially long-term effects of the coronavirus on the tourism industry, saying people are expected to initially prefer short drives rather than long flights as they look to travel. Passengers getting on board planes at 19 Florida airports in the quarter decreased 11.6%compared to 2019, the report said. Meanwhile, Visit Florida staff put current marketing plans on hold as it has worked on a rebound plan that will initially focus on Floridians taking in-state trips. In 2019, Florida attracted a record 131.4 million travelers, making it the ninth consecutive year of increased tourism numbers.
Governor’s task force looks at reopening Florida’s restaurants, hotels
Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida Task Force was told Tuesday. Restaurant executives told the group that fully reopening won’t be simply unlocking doors and turning on lights. Florida restaurants have been restricted to takeout and delivery service for about a month and their staffs and supplies are depleted. The task force is charged with coming up with recommendations by Friday afternoon. “Our hope is that the recommendations are robust and comprehensive as possible, so that’s something the task force is doing,” Lt. Gov.
Tourism workers hit hard as virus hikes Georgia unemployment
More than 130,000 restaurant and hotel workers across Georgia lost jobs in March, the state Department of Labor said. “It’s just shut down everything, turned off the whole city,” Primo said. Georgia processed 318,000 new unemployment claims last week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. While that’s down slightly from the record-smashing previous week, more than 900,000 Georgia workers have filed for unemployment benefits since March 22. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler predicted unemployment claims will soon exceed 1 million.
Jacksonville launches crime-fighting program for hotels
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new crime and safety initiative focused on the hotels in Jacksonville launched Friday in collaboration with city and state tourism officials. “Tourism Industry and Public Safety Alliance,” or TIPSA, is a partnership of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Visit Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and City Councilman Danny Becton. Jacksonville police have responded to hundreds of calls for service at that one hotel over the last three years. Becton began the initiative just over a year ago with Visit Jacksonville, FRLA, JSO and several concerned local hotel owners to reinforce the fact that the “safety of Jacksonville visitors is our No. Thirty hotels in Jacksonville have joined the program so far and between 50 and 100 are expected to be signed up within a month.
Italian beach to charge entry fee to combat overtourism
But this week, in a bid to preserve the beach, authorities have announced a cap on visitor numbers and a ticketing system. "We have a slogan: 'La Pelosa una volta ma per tutti,' for everyone but one time only. A ban on smoking and vendors on La Pelosa two years ago has since been replicated on other beaches on the island. Sardinia's beaches are known as some of the finest in the world -- but that means they are struggling with overtourism. People taking sand from the beach as a memento has led to a ban on removing any sand from the coastline.