With the summer tourist season in full swing, the Florida Keys is getting more and more crowded, as vacationers and locals alike descend on the Keys for some sunshine and fun. The islands of Key Largo, Big Pine Key, and Key West are particularly popular destinations, and as the tourism season progresses, more and more visitors are flocking to the region to enjoy the warm weather and breathtaking views.
For decades, the Florida Keys—an archipelago in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida—have been a vacation paradise for vacationers looking for the perfect spot to relax. The Keys are not quite as crowded with tourists as they were in the 1970s, but they are still seeing record numbers of visitors. The main reasons for the high influx of tourists: winterless weather, a unique location, and efficient transportation.
The warm weather has been here for a while now and with the first day of summer fast approaching, the Florida Keys are expected to be one of the best places to visit this summer. The keys have seen a record number of visitors this summer due to the warm weather, which has caused some places to reach capacity. According to the Miami Herald , The Key West Chamber of Commerce said that by the end of June, the total number of visitors to the region had reached the 9 million mark, a figure it hadn’t reached until September of last year.. Read more about busiest vacation weeks 2021 and let us know what you think.
Typically, tourism in the Florida Keys is slower during summer months, before the snowbirds arrive, allowing many Floridians to enjoy a close-to-home escape that’s easily accessible, budget-friendly and relaxing—but not this summer.
This year, it’s quite a different story for the string of tropical islands scattered off the Sunshine State’s southern tip. Non-local visitors are flocking to the Florida Keys for their post-pandemic domestic vacations, sending hotel rates soaring and creating long lines at landmarks, attractions and restaurants.
“Every tourist attraction has a long line,” Boca Raton resident Dara Krauss, who visited Key West and Islamorada last week, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The resorts were full and hotel prices were high. There was almost nothing to be had.” Her family is one of those that usually vacations abroad during the summer but has opted to stay stateside this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. “We’re taking a lot of smaller trips within the U.S.,” she said.
One of the reasons for this anomaly is the fact that plenty of countries, Canada included, still won’t accept American tourists, as the world continues to contend with COVID-19 and the highly contagious Delta variant. Nearby Mexico and much of the Caribbean are open to U.S. visitors, but venturing outside the country still seems like a dicey prospect for many American tourists.
For instance, one might wind up stuck in a foreign country if borders were to close without warning because of changing COVID-19 conditions. International travel might be otherwise complicated by mask-wearing, quarantine, and pre- or post-travel testing requirements set by the destination, and the need to test again to re-enter the U.S. Yet, everyone is desperate to travel right now.
Airlines have also recently increased air-travel connections to the Keys, likely inducing more travelers to consider a trip to the archipelago. Allegiant, American, Delta, Silver, JetBlue and United all began offering nonstop service to Key West International Airport in June, where record-high passenger counts had already been reported earlier this year.
The arrival of the masses and increase in demand has forced consumer costs up, with the destination’s average daily hotel rate rising from $288 per night back in 2019 to $385, according to the Keys’ Tourist Development Council. Tour operators with sold-out schedules and restauranteurs whose premises are packed are reporting the same influx of tourists.
As early as May, the islands experienced a record-setting hotel occupancy rate of 83.6 percent, while occupancy in Key West alone hit 91.3 percent with an average daily hotel rate of $412.38—numbers that the Council described as “astounding”.
Sheldon Suga, vice president and managing director of Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, offered a partial explanation for increased hotel pricing, saying that the cost of hotel operations has multiplied exponentially since COVID-19 shut down the majority of businesses that, then, could only reopen with new sanitation and health protection measures in place.
Suga said that employees are presently in short supply, and his current staff members are paid higher wages as an incentive to stay, new cleaning protocols are more complex and labor-intensive and his suppliers’ food prices have risen in the past few months—by as much as 60 percent for certain beef products.
This is a guest post by the team from www.seeitsmyvacation.com , and we’re in the middle of a record-breaking summer season here in Florida’s Keys, and everyone is in line to see the sights and experience what there is to do. The trendy and buzzing hotspots have long been the scene of many a vacation, and all the usual suspects of thrills and spills have risen to the top.. Read more about travel plans summer 2021 and let us know what you think.
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- summer plans 2021
- travel plans summer 2021