Travel has been greatly impacted by the global pandemic.
There have been various restrictions and requirements when it comes to traveling, especially for international travelers coming to the United States. And, while tourism seemed to be bouncing back in Florida, new COVID-19 concerns could greatly affect the industry.
Florida economists say the new omicron coronavirus variant will slow the state’s tourism down, especially when it comes to international visitors, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Members of the state Economic Estimating Conference agreed to slightly lower expectations through the middle of 2022 for Canadian and overseas travelers.
According to the Sentinel, Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research, said she expects the highly contagious variant will affect people’s decisions to travel to and from Florida.
Florida’s tourism industry did better than expected in the third quarter of 2021, bringing in 32.6 million visitors, according to the Sentinel. This was 2 million more than forecasted and 0.3% above the overall number of visitors in the third quarter of 2019. Almost 90% of visitors to Florida this year have come from other states.
The Sentinel says that officials at Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing arm, were expecting an increase in Canadian and overseas tourists since the White House eased travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals in November. But, the rules changed once again due to the omicron variant, which has now reached the U.S.
The U.S. has restricted travel from several African countries as of November 29th, 2021 due to concerns over the omicron variant, according to the U.S. Department of State. These include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
Starting at the beginning of December, the U.S. tightened “pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.” We’ll keep you informed about the most important travel news, so stay tuned to DFB for more.