Bad winter weather could be a boost to Florida tourism

'It was just getting really cold and we were a little tired of the snow,' a tourist said
Florida breaks another tourism record
Posted at 9:53 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 23:51:16-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The extreme winter weather for much of the country this week may convince some reluctant tourists to now come to Florida.

Kimberly Spence Jensen of Anchorage, Alaska, said she and her husband decided last week to come to West Palm Beach.

“It was just getting really cold and we were a little tired of the snow,” Spence Jensen said.

“I felt comfortable on the plane and we have masks and it wasn’t a deterrent for us,” she added.

Tourism officials say it has been far from a normal tourist season because of COVID-19.

“The good thing is we’re in the recovery mode,” said Glenn Jorgensen of the Palm Beach County Tourism Development Council.

Jorgensen said occupancy rates for area hotels are below the normal 90 percent this time of year, but it’s now over 50 percent and has been slowly going up the last two months.

“We follow a lot of research and that research is telling us that about 80 percent of Americans are saying right now 'we’re ready to travel,’" Jorgensen said.

Vaccinations around the country are also expected to restore confidence for travelers and Jorgensen said he expects travel to be closer to normal by summer.