Visit Florida aims to surpass pre-pandemic UK numbers in 2024

UK arrivals to Florida are tracking ahead of pre-pandemic levels for the first time, according to the state’s tourist board.

A total of 1.14 million UK visitors travelled to Florida in 2023, a marginal increase on 2022 but still 14% behind 2019.

However, figures from Visit Florida for the first quarter of 2024 show UK numbers tracking 12 percentage points ahead of the same period in 2019.

Vice-president of marketing Brett Laiken said the rebound of UK visitors to Florida was stronger than for many other US destinations and he was optimistic pre-pandemic levels could be surpassed for the first time in 2024.

A total of 917,000 scheduled seats for the May to October period was up 10% on the same period in 2023 and was another indicator of returning demand, he added.

“Our overall international visitor numbers were up by 1.7% on pre-pandemic levels in 2023 and we continue to invest in the UK market which is second only to Canada for us,” said Laiken at the IPW conference in Los Angeles.

“We remain committed to the trade and have run eight co-operative marketing campaigns in the market, but you will also see us increasing our consumer activity to create that demand.”

Laiken hailed increased opportunities to sell twin-centre holidays with New York following the launch of JetBlue flights to JFK and said Visit Florida also remained committed to the dispersal of travellers beyond the core gateways.

“The size of the state means you have different seasons in different areas,” he said. “Everyone loves Orlando and Miami, but there is also growing interest in the panhandle and the northwest of the state.”

Photo: Timothy Comeaux/Shutterstock.com

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