As post-pandemic business travel comes back, experts say Florida’s reopening policies should allow it to lock in a significant share of returning corporate events and meetings.
Why it matters: There’s a lot of money to be made — with a lot of people itching to travel — after the sector lost $97 billion in spending last year, according to a new Tourism Economics analysis by the U.S. Travel Association.
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What’s happening: Concerns are still lingering around conferences and big business events, despite rising vaccination rates and falling case numbers nationwide.
Leisure travel will reach 99% of its pre-pandemic peak by 2022, the analysis shows, but business travel isn’t expected to fully recover until 2024 at the earliest.
On a conference call Tuesday, travel industry leaders blamed America’s patchwork of restrictions and reopening plans for that lag.
“Anywhere that’s been open longer is benefitting from more travel,” said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton.
How it’s playing in Tampa: Five of the 15 events scheduled at the Tampa Convention Center between June and October are moving from other locations, reports the Business Observer of Florida.
Those include the National Conference of Legislators (from Chicago), the American Academy of Dermatology (from New York) and the Teen Action Summit (from Washington, D.C.).
The bottom line: Those five events are expected to bring an additional $8.6 million in economic impact to the area from 10,600 visitors and 24,254 room nights, according to convention center figures.
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