TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida is reporting a huge boost in tourism during 2021’s second quarter, and Governor Ron DeSantis is crediting the lack of lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions for driving visitors to the Sunshine State, despite the fact that it is currently experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 infections fueled by the Delta variant.
Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism organization, estimates that 30.6 million tourists visited during the months of April, May and June, representing a whopping 216 percent jump over the same period of time in 2020. Even more impressive is that this is also an increase of 6 percent over the second quarter of 2019, which is before the pandemic had taken hold of the nation.
“Florida continues to serve as an example for the country that when you reject lockdowns and unnecessary mandates, your economy will thrive,” said DeSantis was quoted as saying.
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This is taking place amid a surge in COVID-19 cases state-wide; cases increased 38 percent over the previous 14 days for a two-week average of 24,517, and deaths related to the virus jumped 102 percent to 138, for a total of 41,138 since the pandemic began.
Florida is standing out from much of the rest of the country in terms of attracting tourism amid the pandemic; while the state’s number of visitors is currently up, the amount of travel overall in the U.S. is still well below pre-COVID numbers, with the TSA noting a 27 percent decrease in travelers nationwide from 2019.