Coronavirus in Florida: As many businesses begin reopening, tourism industry remains in limbo

MIAMI – Salons, restaurants and other types of shops opened in parts of South Florida on Monday, but some are still wondering when hotels and other essential tourism businesses will welcome guests again.

There are several variables at play continuing to impact our tourism industry, including consumer confidence.

Whether discussing South Florida's closed gorgeous beaches, its closed to visitors' hotels, the checkpoints to the Florida Keys barring visitors until June 1 or the docked cruise industry, the tourism industry remains stuck in neutral despite much of Miami-Dade and Broward reopening.

When the tourism sector will enter recovery is the multi-billion-dollar question.

Bill Talbert leads the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Won’t be soon enough for us," Talbert said. "Tourism is our number one industry."

They’ve already created a Miami Shines campaign to entice future leisure and business visitors.

Messaging will be important; a Visit Florida analysis of social media sentiment in early-May found that Florida travel discussion was more negative than U.S. travel as a whole.

That is why it's so important to keep the number of infections down at Miami International Airport.

90% of all passengers that are coming to this area, wherever it be in South Florida, Broward, Miami-Dade, are coming through MIA.

As the region’s biggest airport, MIA is working to model best practices in social distancing protocols and signage.

"To make sure have confidence is not just visiting Miami, but also vacationing and living here," said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Lester Sola.

Per the governor’s order, travelers from hot spots, like the New York tri-state area, will continue be screened and asked to self-quarantine for 14-days upon arrival.

Travel is also restricted for some foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S.

Also, keep in mind some potential international visitors are facing travel restrictions, and another variable impacting the tourism industry is case numbers amid this initial re-opening phase.

"To get to full opening, to include hotels, we need to follow the rules, not slide back," said Talbert.

When that fuller reopening impacting the tourism sector happens, it will help business owners in tourist-dependent areas like the Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami.

Related links:

Visit Florida: Coronavirus & Travel Sentiment Analysis, May 1 - May 7

Visit Florida: COVID-19 Florida Tourism Impacts

Miami International Airport: COVID-19 Safety

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