On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) issued a statement touting the amazing rebound in the state’s tourism industry in 2021. As other states persisted in their draconian lockdowns over the pandemic, Florida became the ultimate destination for those seeking liberty, normalcy, and a real vacation—even for those implementing forced quarantines.
The numbers are staggering. Florida enjoyed an influx of 117.7 million domestic visitors in 2021. Further, in the third and fourth quarters of 2021, tourism numbers beat the same periods in 2019, before the pandemic. This demonstrates that Florida has not just rebounded, but exceeded its pre-pandemic reputation as a vacation destination — and a destination for those seeking liberty.
The governor’s office notes that, in fact, 2021 saw the highest level of domestic tourism in the history of Florida.
Florida was always a vacation destination, but the new numbers are undeniable. Not only does the Sunshine State reign as the top spot for vacationers seeking sun, wildlife, and the ability to move about freely and unmasked, it has attracted a record number of permanent residents as well. Republicans have moved to Florida from other parts of the country at such a rate that, for the first time in state history, registered Republican voters outnumber Democrats.
Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Gov. DeSantis, said in a statement, “Many of the tourists in Florida come from states with mandates and restrictions, to enjoy the freedoms and sense of normalcy that Florida has become renowned for, under Governor DeSantis’ leadership. In fact, some of the most prominent pro-lockdown politicians and pundits, despite their constant criticism of Governor DeSantis’ commonsense policies, have enjoyed their mask-free vacations in Florida over the past two years.”
Pushaw provided the following helpful list of left-wing figures who have visited the Sunshine State since widespread lockdowns took over the national culture:
- Lindy Li, political commentator and DNC Regional Chair
- Mich. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney
- N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy
- Don Lemon, CNN Activist
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)
- Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont (A few months earlier, Lamont had touted Connecticut’s harsh COVID-19 restrictions by proudly stating, “We are not Florida.” In July 2021, Lamont advised Connecticut residents to “skip Florida” for vacation due to COVID — yet he spent Christmas vacation there.)
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif)
DeSantis used the occasion of the new statistics to give a press conference touting Florida’s liberty-centered approach to the pandemic, and contrasting it with the more heavy-handed measures of other states:
Governor DeSantis announces Florida had 30.9 million visitors from October to December, the second consecutive quarter where visitation has topped pre-pandemic levels. https://t.co/417iZKYMZz
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 15, 2022
In an infographic, the press office also noted 1.5 million international travelers came to Florida in 2021, an increase of 43% over the previous year. Florida hosted 709,000 tourists from Colombia, the most ever.
The announcement continues a long string of successes enjoyed by Florida under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, who has taken a more nuanced approach to fighting the pandemic — with positive results both in infection numbers and the overall psyche of the state.
Maybe that’s why Democrats have increasingly thrown in the towel as Election Day approaches. It’s hard to fight a record of success this consistent.