Canada will smash through its 2022 visitation numbers for Florida when official stats are released later this month.
The final tally isn’t in, but VISIT FLORIDA officials attending this week’s Florida Huddle event in Miami said 2,790,000 Canadians made their way to the Sunshine State in 2022. Statistics for 2023 show 2,803,000 Canadians visited Florida in the first nine months of the year, which is already ahead of 2022 as a whole.
Preliminary statistics also show Canadian airlift to Florida in every month of last year was ahead of the same month in 2019, said Jacob Pewitt Yancey, director of consumer insights and analytics for VISIT FLORIDA.
State figures also show that international visits to the state are outpacing international visits to the United States as a whole. Officials said Florida last year was at 85% of 2019 visitation levels from international arrivals, which includes Canadians. The U.S. as a whole was at 77% of 2019 levels.
Canada will definitely finish 2023 as the leading source of visitors for the state, Yancey said.
“We had more visitors from Canada in the first quarter of 2023 than we did from the UK (Florida’s number two foreign market) for the whole year.”
Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA’s President and CEO, said this year’s Florida Huddle will be the biggest ever, with more than 725 attendees.
“Who doesn’t want to be in Miami Beach in February,” she said with a smile.
David Whitaker, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (and former head of Tourism Toronto) said it was announced on 04FEB that Miami will host seven matches during the FIFA World Cup in 2026, including one of the quarterfinals, and also the bronze medal match.
Both he and Young also noted that VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with the Michelin Guide has put a strong focus on the state’s culinary scene.
“It has been amazingly successful; far beyond what I would have expected,” Young said. “It’s really helping to lift up the image of Florida in the international gastronomic world.”
Another great feature is the Brightline train, which Open Jaw rode last year from Miami to West Palm Beach for Florida Huddle 2023. The train currently runs from downtown Miami to W. Palm Beach and on to MCO. It is hoped that it will extend to Tampa sometime in 2025, Young noted.
VISIT FLORIDA and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau put on a fine opening reception at the Miami Beach Convention Center on 04FEB, with Cuban, Spanish and Japanese food, live music, dancers and more.