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Florida Polytechnic University SymmetryIn an unexpected yet thrilling turn of events, Florida has become the beacon for international tourists amidst a globally charged atmosphere of recovery and rejuvenation. According to freshly churned data from VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State has painted an impressive picture, revealing its most robust international footfall since 2019.

The recently unveiled figures from the premier tourism organization indicate that the international jet-setters have reclaimed Florida as their prime hotspot. Astoundingly, the first half of the Calendar Year 2023 revealed overseas visitation spiking by 21.8% and a whopping 81.1% upsurge from our neighbours up north, the Canadians. All in contrast to a similar timeframe last year.

Out of the 33.1 million individuals that soaked up Florida’s sun between April and June 2023, 1.9 million took the journey across oceans, with another 846,000 marking their presence from Canada. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; Florida’s warm embrace extended to a mammoth 70.8 million visitors throughout 2023.

A statement from a jubilant Dana Young, the mastermind behind the wheels of VISIT FLORIDA as its President & CEO, noted the state’s unparalleled dominance in the tourism sector. With a beaming pride, she emphasized, “Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ ‘freedom-first’ approach and relentless aim to position Florida as America’s numero uno, we’re seeing the fruits of our labor. While competitors have barely opened their gates, Florida stands tall, outshining major players like New York and California.”

Drilling Down the Details:

  • While the first half of 2023 witnessed international numbers soaring, domestic footfall experienced a slight 1.1% reduction.
  • Compared to the pre-COVID era of 2019, Florida’s current figures are 4.5% stronger.
  • 2023’s Q2 marked 11% more overseas tourists and a 20.8% rise in Canadian visitors, with domestic numbers surpassing 4.6% from the same period two years ago.
  • A closer look at Q2 2023 breaks down as: 30.3 million local, 1.9 million international, and 846,000 Canadians, comprising 91.6%, 5.9%, and 2.6% of total visitors, respectively.

A feather in Florida’s cap came when the state snatched the title for the highest overseas visitors’ market share for two consecutive years. Historically, only once before has any form overshadowed New York in this realm. When comparing recovery numbers, Florida boasts an 80% bounce-back rate post-pandemic. To put this into perspective, New York lags at 75% and California at 68%, with the national average trailing at 73%.




Written by: Jason Smith