DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A local travel agent is optimistic about tourism bouncing back in 2021 despite a Destinations Florida report that said revenue for the tourism industry was down 40 percent in October.
Workers at the Aloft hotel in Delray Beach said they are slowly seeing more travelers and bookings.
SPECIAL SECTION: Rebound South Florida
Ryan Curran, the director of sales at Aloft hotel, said the end of December was a great end to the year, and they continue to see people book into the new year.
"Our same-day bookings, our week-of bookings are through the roof," Curran said.
Travel agent Jeff Dash said he was nervous going into 2021.
"By this time of the year, I would be looking at a normal year, and I would see my entire calendar completely full with bookings, not only for 2021 but also for 2022," Dash said.
Since the vaccine has started to be distributed, people have started booking trips for later in the year.
"I have a lot of bookings for the third quarter like Thanksgiving and Christmas, summer vacations," Dash said.
During the week after Christmas, airports saw the most travelers since the pandemic started in March.
Dash said the cruise industry will be a major factor for the travel industry this year.
"In 2019, over 30 million people cruised," Dash said.
He said people have been asking him when cruises will start again, and there is a built-up demand.
"Cruising is vital to the South Florida economy," Dash said.
Discover the Palm Beaches notes the occupancy rates of hotels were not what they anticipated at the end of 2020.
Dash notes his travel business doesn't expect the travel industry to see major traffic until the end of this year.
Below is a statement from Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, about the tourism industry:
“Discover The Palm Beaches (DTPB) remains cautiously optimistic heading into 2021 and our high season. As we closed 2020, our occupancy rates are not where we initially anticipated, further emphasizing that our tourism and hospitality community continues to suffer the impacts of the pandemic’s harsh reality. In the New Year and beyond, DTPB’s goal will remain to support our local communities and hospitality partners, continue to emphasize safety practices such as adherence to The Palm Beaches Pledge regarding MASKS/DISTANCE/SANITIZING, investing in GBAC (Global Biorisk Advisory Council) STARTM accreditation throughout our destination and advocate for federal and local support for our industry.