Florida’s Tourism Industry Showing Economic Improvements, New Study Shows

Destinations Florida released a study shows some improvement in the economic impacts of the pandemic response on the state’s tourism industry.

Since the measured reopening of the state, the tourism industry is starting to see positive trends in employment, an increase in the average hotel occupancy rate and increased revenue and profit. This study follows two previous studies assessing the impacts of the pandemic response.

Since June 9, Florida tourism businesses reported:


  • Tourism employee layoffs were at their peak in mid-March at 67 percent and are now down to 17 percent in June
  • Reductions in the number of employees’ hours went from 60 percent in mid-April to 37 percent in June
  • As of June 9, 55 percent of respondents had hired or rehired employees

Year-Over-Year Profits

  • Tourism-related businesses’ profits were down 83 percent in mid-April and are now down 51 percent in June

Year-Over-Year Hotel Occupancy

  • Hotel occupancy was down 71 percent in mid-April and is now down to 35 percent in June
  • On June 9, 2019, hotel occupancy was at 78 percent compared to 43 percent on June 9, 2020; however, that is a significant improvement over the 13 percent occupancy in mid-April 2020

Year-Over-Year Hotel Bookings

  • 30 days out: the average hotel, vacation rental and bed & breakfast bookings were down 80 percent in mid-April and are now down to 59 percent in June
  • 60 days out: the average hotel, vacation rental and bed & breakfast bookings were down 68 percent in mid-April and are now down to 60 percent in June

Financial Stimulus

  • As of June, 75 percent of responding tourism industry partners have applied for financial stimulus and 81 percent have received it, up from only 17 percent that had received help by mid-April

“The pandemic response has had a significant negative impact on the state’s economy. However, there are signs of a rebound and Florida’s tourism industry, which is a key driver of employment and our economy, is working hard to put our state on a path to recovery,” said Robert Skrob, the executive director of Destinations Florida, on Monday. “Safely welcoming guests back to Florida will be an important part of this recovery. In order to do that, we must rely on the efforts of county destination marketing organizations to ensure tourism businesses have the resources, information and opportunities they need to not only survive these uncertain times but thrive when the threat is diminished.”

The results of this third study were compiled from a total of 210 completed surveys from industry partners in 24 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 Destination 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. It serves as the unifying voice representing Florida’s destination marketing organizations and strives to increase the effectiveness of local tourism promotion organizations’ efforts.


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