PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — We are coming up on one of the most important times of the year in Tampa Bay: spring break. But after a year like 2020, what will this year look like for the tourism industry?
After a dismal year in 2020, a lot of people are counting on this spring break season. Tourism officials are hoping that with Florida being an outdoors destination that will help with mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is doing all they can to remind people that there are more than 35 miles of beaches in Pinellas County. There are plenty of ways to spread out with all sorts of outdoor activities. They are working with hotels, restaurants, and shops to remind visitors to wear masks, socially distance, and wash hands often.
Tourism officials said helping tourists feel safe is vital.
“To have half of a month in March and then no April whatsoever really hurt the tourism industry over all. We think we’re going to see that rebound, but not at the levels we saw in 2019, but much better than we saw in 2020,” said Steve Hayes, President of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.
The area is expected to see less travelers again this year as many colleges cancel spring break, and much of Europe is still not traveling either. However, there could be many northerners heading south after a brutal winter. The key is attracting the right tourists this year.
“There are people that are comfortable with traveling at this point and there are some people that are not. What we want to do is if we’re reaching the people that are comfortable with traveling is to show them how we have a safe destination and make them feel comfortable coming here. So that is the folks that we want,” said Hayes.
Tourism officials are hoping Florida families will spread out. Not just across the different beaches. Many families are still doing virtual schooling allowing them to spread out when they’ll take their spring break. They don’t have to come out with everyone on the same week. This will help with overcrowding.
There are still a lot of unknowns, but tourism officials say things are looking to be good this year. Not 2019 good, but they’re hoping that will come back in 2022.