Study Demonstrates Improvements in Economic Impacts on Florida’s Tourism Industry

July 20, 2020 – A study released today by Destinations Florida shows some improvement in the economic impacts of the pandemic response on Florida’s tourism industry. Since the measured reopening of the state, the tourism industry is starting to see positive trends in employment, an increase in the average hotel occupancy rate and increased revenue and profit. This study follows two previous studies assessing the impacts of the pandemic response.

Since June 9, Florida tourism businesses reported:


  • Tourism employee layoffs were at their peak in mid-March at 67% and are now down to 17% in June
  • Reductions in the number of employees’ hours went from 60% in mid-April to 37% in June
  • As of June 9, 55% of respondents had hired or rehired employees

Year-Over-Year Profits

  • Tourism-related businesses’ profits were down 83% in mid-April and are now down 51% in June

Year-Over-Year Hotel Occupancy

  • Hotel occupancy was down 71% in mid-April and is now down to 35% in June
  • On June 9, 2019, hotel occupancy was at 78% compared to 43% on June 9, 2020; however, that is a significant improvement over the 13% occupancy in mid-April 2020

Year-Over-Year Hotel Bookings

  • 30 days out: the average hotel, vacation rental and bed & breakfast bookings were down 80% in mid-April and are now down to 59% in June
  • 60 days out: the average hotel, vacation rental and bed & breakfast bookings were down 68% in mid-April and are now down to 60% in June

Financial Stimulus

  • As of June, 75% of responding tourism industry partners have applied for financial stimulus and 81% have received it, up from only 17% that had received help by mid-April

“The pandemic response has had a significant negative impact on the state’s economy. However, there are signs of a rebound and Florida’s tourism industry, which is a key driver of employment and our economy, is working hard to put our state on a path to recovery,” said Robert Skrob, Executive Director of Destinations Florida. “Safely welcoming guests back to Florida will be an important part of this recovery. In order to do that, we must rely on the efforts of county destination marketing organizations to ensure tourism businesses have the resources, information and opportunities they need to not only survive these uncertain times but thrive when the threat is diminished.”

The results of this third study were compiled from a total of 210 completed surveys from industry partners in 24 counties. The majority of respondents were small tourism-reliant businesses with fewer than 10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenues. The study is a collaboration between Destination Florida and Downs & St. Germain Research, which donated its time and expertise to this project.

Destinations Florida is the statewide association that serves local tourism promotion organizations. It serves as the unifying voice representing Florida’s destination marketing organizations and strives to increase the effectiveness of local tourism promotion organizations’ efforts.

Download the report: