TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, VISIT FLORIDA announced that preliminary visitation estimates show Florida welcomed a total of 31.7 million travelers from April through June 2021, representing an increase of more than 220 percent over the prior year. Approximately 30.6 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q2, reflecting a 216 percent increase from 2020, and a 6 percent increase from 2019. Over the past year, VISIT FLORIDA had several marketing successes that accelerated tourism’s recovery and positioned Florida as a leading destination for travelers across the U.S.
“Florida continues to serve as an example for the country that when you reject lockdowns and unnecessary mandates, your economy will thrive,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Not only did Florida have more visitors in the second quarter than we did in 2020, but the data shows that domestic visitation has already fully recovered to 2019 levels. I’m grateful for the dedication of thousands of Florida business owners, who demonstrated the highest commitment to their employees and their customers, and I’m proud of VISIT FLORIDA’s hard work to market the Sunshine State. The revitalization of our tourism industry will have a positive impact on every Floridian.”
“Florida tourism’s skyrocketing growth in Q2 2021 is an incredible achievement for our state’s economic recovery and underscores the effectiveness of VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing,” said Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO. “With Governor DeSantis’ support, we have not only helped propel travel well past 2020 levels, but also achieved a 6 percent increase from 2019 domestic visitation. VISIT FLORIDA remains wholly focused on driving even more results for Florida’s tourism economy and showcasing everything our great state has to offer to travelers.”
Despite ongoing international travel restrictions, preliminary estimates also indicate that 1.1 million overseas visitors came to Florida in Q2 of 2021, an increase of 854 percent from last year. Travel from Canada rose by over 74 percent, with 15,000 Canadian travelers visiting the state between April and June.
Additionally, after receiving updated information for quarter one 2021 visitation numbers, VISIT FLORIDA estimates the state welcomed a total of 27.3 million visitors from January to March this year, slightly more than what was previously reported.
Last fiscal year, VISIT FLORIDA partnered with AAA Northeast on a co-branded, multi-channel campaign promoting the Sunshine State to adults 25+ in key markets in the Northeast U.S. VISIT FLORIDA’s $150,000 co-investment in the campaign resulted in over $24.5 million in total bookings to Florida, which included $16 million in bookings to Orlando. VISIT FLORIDA’s participation also nearly doubled the impression goal for the campaign, accruing more than 43 million total impressions among potential travelers.
While air travel was in severe decline during the pandemic, VISIT FLORIDA partnered with Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines/American Airline Vacations, and United Airlines on three independent campaigns throughout the Midwest and Northeast to keep Florida top of mind and drive bookings to the state when travel resumed. VISIT FLORIDA’s $550,000 investment, which was matched at least 1:1, helped deliver nearly $1.2 million in media value and over 156.5 million impressions, exceeding estimates by 47.3 percent.
Key Takeaways from Marketing Campaigns
- Allegiant – Bookings to Florida from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis increased by an average of 8.6 percent year-over-year.
- American Airlines – Flight bookings to Florida increased by 80 percent during the campaign period month-over-month.
- American Airline Vacations – Florida vacation package bookings increased 14.8 percent year-over-year, with a 19.3 percent increase in room nights and 9.3 percent increase in revenue.
- United – The campaign directly resulted in $2.9 million in flight sales to Florida, leading to an average ROAS (return on ad spend) of 20:1.