Florida Tourism Industry Still Recovering From COVID-19 Impact

Destinations Florida released a study on Monday which shows that while Florida’s tourism industry is still in recovery, impacts to the industry from the pandemic response have lessened since October.

Since the reopening of the state, the tourism industry is starting to see positive trends in employee retention, an increase in the average hotel occupancy rate, and higher percentages of revenue and profit since July. Although the trends demonstrate positive improvements, more than half of tourism partners surveyed believe the impact of the pandemic response will continue until sometime between the third quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.

This study follows three previous studies assessing the impacts of the pandemic response.

Since October 27, Florida tourism businesses reported:

Employees

  • Tourism businesses retained 72 percent employees compared to 56 percent in June.
  • While labor shortages remain steady at 27 percent, businesses reported that they have less difficulty accessing needed supplies than they did in June.

 Year-Over-Year Profits and Revenue

  • Tourism-related businesses’ profits were down 43 percent in October compared to 51 percent in June. Year-to-date, profits are down 55 percent compared to 2019.
  • Tourism-related businesses’ revenue was down 29 percent in October compared to 45 percent in June. Year-to-date, revenue is down 40 percent compared to 2019.

Year-Over-Year Hotel Occupancy

  • Hotel occupancy is down 29 percent points in October.
  • Hotel occupancy rates are significantly better in October compared to the 71 percent point drop in April.

Year-Over-Year Hotel Bookings

  • 30 days out: the average hotel, vacation rental and bed & breakfast bookings were down 42 percent in October, compared to 59 percent in June.
  • 60 days out: the average hotel, vacation rental and bed & breakfast bookings were down 53 percent in October, compared to 60 percent in June

Financial Stimulus

  • Half of businesses surveyed received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money, with 2 in 5 receiving their application for PPP forgiveness.
  • In general, businesses surveyed believe 97 percent of their PPP funding will be forgiven.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 businesses say they would qualify for a second round of pandemic-related funding if a second stimulus bill passes.

“Slowly but surely, we are seeing signs of a recovery and Florida’s tourism industry, which is a key driver of employment and our economy, continues to work hard to ensure our communities are able to rebound,” said Robert Skrob, the executive director of Destinations Florida, on Monday. “There is no magic fix for an economic recovery but what we have seen, and what we know works, is the efforts of local tourism promotion organizations that have been providing critical resources, information and opportunities for local tourism businesses to welcome visitors back in a safe and secure manner. With the help of these organizations, Florida’s tourism economy is prepped to recover fully and thrive in the future.”

The results of this fourth study were compiled from a total of 244 completed surveys from industry partners in 19 counties. The majority of respondents were small tourism-reliant businesses with fewer than 10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenues. The study is a collaboration between Destinations Florida and Downs & St. Germain Research, which donated its time and expertise to this project.

Destinations Florida is the statewide association that serves local tourism promotion organizations.

 

 

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