Florida’s tourism industry may be in better shape than many predicted. The gulf state, which brings in over $20 billion annually through tourism, has reported that visitors are coming in numbers that fall within traditional targets. Tourism spending throughout the state has actually grown by around three percent since the disaster, although analysts had expected greater growth before the oil spill.
The positive growth is being seen by many in the gulf region as evidence that local tourism will regain strength over the next year. With oil washed ashore on many Gulf of Mexico beaches, the region’s largest tour operators had previously questioned its ability to survive as a tourism spot in North America. While Florida’s industry leads that of other states, it’s certainly a good sign.
Tourism throughout the gulf is still relatively low, with Louisiana and other states reporting steady, albeit lower than usual, returns. The state’s capital – New Orleans – is aiming to continue is famous tourism and hospitality industry throughout the five-year Hurricane Katrina anniversary. Earnings have been down across the region compared to predictions, although growth may occur shortly.
For Florida’s tourism-dependent businesses, the surprising boost in tourist spending is certainly a welcome sign. The state had previously worried that its service-driven industry may suffer in the decline, with tight consumer spending and poor environmental conditions combining to eliminate the state’s lucrative tourism income.
Analysts have pointed to a number of events as reason for the sudden tourist surge. Some have used the President’s recent visit to the gulf as a reminder of its suitability as a family destination, while a range of leading newspapers have pointed to aggressive online advertising. It’s tough to know which cause was responsible, but both have certainly lead to a major re-brand for Florida’s tourism spots.?