DeSantis’s Florida sees record-high visitation in 2022

by Alex Caldwell

Photo: Alamy

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last week that the Sunshine State experienced record-high visitation in 2022, crediting the boom in tourism to the state’s freedom-indulging pandemic policies.

“People continue to make Florida their vacation destination because they know that in the Free State of Florida, they can enjoy all that we have to offer without mandates or restrictions,” the governor said in a press release on Wednesday.

DeSantis, whose campaign won a landslide reelection in 2022, added that “Despite the federal government’s attempts to keep our economy stagnant,” Florida’s “freedom first” approach created an environment that attracted new visitors, propelling new businesses and the economy forward.

According to VISIT FLORIDA, over 137.6 million tourists visited the state of Florida in 2022, almost a 13 percent increase over 2021 and a five percent increase over pre-pandemic levels from 2019,

DeSantis’s press secretary, Bryan Griffin, tweeted that because of the governor’s policies, Florida shattered its tourism record in 2022, thanking “all of the boisterous Florida critics who can’t help but come taste some freedom.”

In addition to record visitation data, VISIT FLORIDA said that the state welcomed 33.2 million visitors from October 2022 to December 2022, the sixth consecutive quarter of growth since pre-pandemic levels.

“Quarter after quarter, Florida continues to dominate the travel market and our competition, which could not be achieved without the hard work of our local tourism partners,” stated VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young.

“Florida is breaking records despite overseas visitation remaining 28 percent lower than 2019 due to heinous visa wait times and irrational mandates imposed by the federal government,” stated Young.

Additionally, Florida welcomed more than seven million overseas travelers in 2022, a 73 percent increase from 2021.

Canadian visitation to the state during the fourth quarter also climbed to one million visitors, a 278 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2021.

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