What’s On The Horizon For: Visit Florida

Visitor levels to Florida continue to surge, with the third quarter of 2023 reaching record levels. Between July and September, Visit Florida says there were 35.1 million arrivals, pushing the overall total to more than 105 million so far this year.  Visitation included 32.2 million domestic visitors, 2.2 million overseas visitors and 666,000 Canadian visitors.

Speaking at Routes World 2023 in Istanbul in October, Jenny Gil, Director of Global Travel Trade at Visit Florida, outlined some of the organization’s priorities. “In the short term, I would definitely say to protect airlift, especially to get it back to pre-pandemic levels,” she says. “Long term, supporting our airports and working with them in collaboration to get pre- and post-cruise itinerary.”

After the opening of Brightline, a $6 billion private high-speed rail service, Elaine Blazys, Vice President of Travel Industry Sales at Visit Orlando, sees a particular opportunity for air connections to Latin America as the new rail connection runs from Miami to Orlando International Airport (MCO). Brightline’s upcoming extension will also include connections to Tampa.

Blazys also noted the region’s success in having maintained its leadership position as the number one visited destination in the U.S. The triumph has been attributed to a number of factors, including an international brand launch, commitment to sales and marketing initiatives, and the evolution of the destination’s experiences.

Blazys says: “We know that to build visitation internationally, you must have the airlift. Domestically we’re great but one of our short- and long-term goals is to continue international development.”