Will flight delays mean less crowded Tampa Bay beaches - WFLA News Channel 8

Will flight delays mean less crowded Tampa Bay beaches this summer?

Posted: Updated:

Delays at airports due to the government sequester could eventually wind up hurting some tourist destinations, but the timing means the Tampa Bay area's beaches might be spared.

"If there are fluctuations in airlines and wait times - or something that might affect air travel - we won't be as affected as places like Miami, for example," said David Downing, Deputy Director of Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater. "Upwards of 90 percent of their tourism comes in on an airplane."

In contrast, Downing says, about 80 percent of this area's summer traffic comes by car.

"Just like gas prices: People say 'if gas goes up a dollar a gallon - will people stop driving in for the summertime?' Probably not. If it goes up $5.00, $10.00 a gallon ... maybe," Downing said. "The same thing is true for the possibility of airline delays. An hour or so delay - everyone expects that. A couple hours? Everyone expects that. Four or five hours - it might be the breaking point. No one really knows where the breaking point is so everyone is watching very carefully."

It's coming at a time when the area is seeing another great year for tourism: up over 11% since last year, which was record-breaking as well.

"Last year we saw more first time visitors than ever: 1.1 million and that's a sign of a really strong tourism market," Downing said.

March numbers aren't in yet but it is traditionally the single-largest tourism month for Clearwater and St. Petersburg, according to Downing.

Although Tampa's airport seemed to be impacted by the federal furloughs, Scot Allen, who's in from Des Moines, Iowa, said no delay will make a difference in his vacation plans this summer.

"You're always going to have a hiccup when you travel," Allen said. "So it's not going to affect me whatsoever."

Mike Shultis, who lives near Woodstock, New York, felt the same way and is planning on coming back to Florida again.

"The publicity that they're putting on up north for the beaches from beaches in Mississippi, Alabama ... all the way through the panhandle ... for the Gulf that BP has been doing has been hitting the airwaves up there pretty heavy and those white sand beaches look pretty darn good on the TV," he said.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Clash in east Ukraine leave at least 2 dead

    Clash in east Ukraine leave at least 2 dead

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:25:45 GMT
    Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says police have cleared the city hall in a southeastern city of pro-Russian protesters who had been occupying it for over a week.
    Ukrainian government troops moved against pro-Russia forces in the east of the country on Thursday and killed at least two of them in clashes at checkpoints manned by the insurgents, the government and insurgents said....
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors

    Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:25:41 GMT
    Police in Afghanistan say a security guard has opened fire in a Kabul hospital, killing three foreigners and wounding one other person.
    An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said.
  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:45:39 GMT
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
  • Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:08:20 GMT
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.