The Impact of COVID-19 on Florida Tourism
Thu, June 4th, 2020
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on tourism throughout the country. But Florida may have felt the greatest backlash out of all 50 states. The Sunshine State relies heavily on tourism annually to drive business to restaurants, hotels and local retail stores.
In the first quarter of 2020, tourism dropped around 11% from the same period in 2019. Considering the virus wasn't considered a pandemic until March 11, that's a substantial decline in potential revenue for many small businesses.
The statistics for the second quarter are expected to be much worse than the first quarter. The resort and hospitality industry recorded very strong months in January and February, but March was a different story. The number of hotel rooms sold from February to March declined 13.2 percent, and second quarter stats are expected to display that same trend.
Not only is this disconcerting for large hotel and restaurant chains, but thousands of small businesses had to temporarily or permanently close their doors across the state.
The effects of COVID-19 are expected to disrupt the tourism industry months and possibly even years past the current events. Caution and fear of traveling have entered the minds of many people throughout the country. If millions of people won't travel to Florida, small businesses are going to continue to feel the financial burden, as well as a struggle for future entrepreneurs to start their own new business.
What can Floridians do about this? We've all heard this a thousand times over again... "SHOP LOCAL!" Your favorite local restaurant, boutique, sporting goods store, etc. are all at risk of closing up shop for good. Doing something to help starts with YOU! If you have a great experience at a local store/restaurant, or are provided a great service, share this with people on social media, leave the company a good review online (if possible) and talk about it with friends and family so the word spreads around town.
This will take a super-human effort from the local community, but it's possible to accomplish. A great place to discover local hidden gems is Southwest Florida Business Finder. We have numerous small businesses that would greatly appreciate your business during this time and for the months to come.
If you would like to obtain a listing in our online directory, contact us and let's "Get Things Done!"
Source: miami herald news