South Florida travel heats up as US reopens borders

US lifts travel restrictions from more than 30 countries
Posted at 6:17 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 18:19:39-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Travel restrictions that the U.S. imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic have been partially lifted for nearly three dozen countries.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents have always been allowed to enter the U.S. However, the travel restrictions meant that tourists, business travelers and family members were prevented from entering.

The travel restrictions banned non-U.S. citizens traveling from 33 countries — including China, India and much of Europe – and had also restricted overland entry from Mexico and Canada.

Laura Reece, owner of Reece Worldwide Travel, is noticing a surge in the number of international travelers with sights set on South Florida for their vacation destination.

“Right now, Florida hotels are so booked,” said Reece. “I was just looking for a hotel for New Year’s with my husband and I can’t find anything.”

Reece said she’s already booking vacations into 2023 and recommends planning ahead of time since travel restrictions have relaxed.

“It's really busy in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach, which is great news,” Reece said. “However, with foreigners coming to America, that means that things are going to book up even more, so it’s really important is to plan ahead.”

Discover The Palm Beaches is also pitching Palm Beach County as an ideal destination for international travelers.

“We're mostly focused on international leisure travelers with two or three week stays in the United States,” said Jorge Pesquera, President and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches.

Pesquera said most of the international travelers who visit Palm Beach County are from Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Germany.

“We are sitting here in the middle of the number one international gateway to Florida which is Miami and the number one domestic destination which is Orlando,” said Pesquera.