Florida Tourists Are Coming Back

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

State officials acknowledge the state’s tourism business has suffered slightly from Hurricane Dennis. One Panhandle resort saw its guest stays cut in half this week.

Bob Pyle came from Delaware to vacation with his brother on the beach. Instead, he spent part of the week digging debris out of the sand.

Bill says, "You get hurricanes every year, we aren’t going to come down during another hurricane, but we are going to come back to Florida."

While Pyle will be coming back to Florida, the state's tourism industry faces challenges. A flyover of Panhandle beaches shows them gone for the most part, with steep drop-offs in their place.

Asked earlier this week about tourism after Dennis, Jeb Bush was predictable.

"Well, we'll be the tourist destination of the world as we are right now," he said.

But when pushed with a follow up question, he was much more candid.

"I’m just trying to spin an ugly situation."

But after last year, Visit Florida says whatever was lost to Dennis will rebound.

Vanessa Welter of Visit Florida says, "Last year we had four hurricanes but we still broke a tourism record. We hosted 76.8 million visitors."

And Wilson Ray may be one of the reasons for optimism. We caught up with him on his way home to Tennessee, but he says he’ll be back.

Wilson says, "We’ve been doing this for 15 years. We've been in them before."

To help keep conventions coming to the state, Florida will begin offering cancellation insurance for conventions during the months of August and September.

Thousands of beach house rentals were cancelled because of the storm.


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