- Current Trend in Florida
- Future Trend in Florida
- Learning Experience
Florida is known as one of the top travel destinations across the world. Tourism alone creates an impact of $67 billion in state economy (Florida Quick Facts). Having established itself as one of the most sought-after tourism destination in last one or two decades, It has some excellent tourism infrastructure either naturally developed or man-made. Tourism contributes immensely to the economy of Florida. The size of Florida tourism can be gauged from the fact that it employs as many as 1,047,100 people as per the 2012 estimates. Traditionally, Florida is known for its Beach and Sunshine tourism, especially during the winter months when most of the America is drowned under knee-deep snow. Florida, though, has been able to establish a novel position in the tourism industry called Cruise Tourism in recent years. The paper focuses on this emerging new trend in tourism that is now making rapid progress in Florida.
Current Trends in Florida
Florida has been a major tourist destination in recent years for a number of factors. Epcot in Disney World provides visitors a special experience at Florida theme parks such as Busch Gardens at Tampa Bay, Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld and Typhoon Lagoon at Orlando. Any of the theme parks in Florida are visited by most visitors. Sun shines in Tampa Bay, luring visitors to come out there for almost 360 days in a year. Adventure Island, Tampa’s first water park spread across 30 acres, often supplements the memories of visitors that they never want to overlook (Henthorn, 2014). It is well recognised that during 2008-2009, the US economy suffered tremendously owing to the financial crisis; American expenditure on leisure travel has plummeted accordingly. The tourism industry had to extend concessions to visitors on hotels and leisure activities during 2008-09 in view of the depressed economic scenario; nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that they could maintain their occupancy and capability usage close to 100 percent.
Future Trend in Florida
As people’s disposable incomes rise, cruise tourism would be a potential development in Florida. Florida is the only state with some of the busiest cruise ports, including Port Everglades, Port Miami, and Port Canaveral, as per Satchell (2013). These three Florida ports produce about 36 percent of the nationally approximate overall $19.6 billion market. It is relevant to remember that almost 60 percent of cruise tourists started their journey from Florida in 2012, recording a rise of 2.6 percent over 2011. 13,5 million travellers took advantage of the cruise ship holiday in 2011. Port Miami and Port Everglades have been Florida’s main port organisers for cruise ships. Port Everglades, a 225,000-ton Royal Caribbean super ship dubbed the Oasis of the Oceans, will boast of possessing the world’s biggest cruise ship. The ship is capable of carrying about 6300 people.
While Port Miami handled 1.9 million cruise tourists in 2012, almost 1.8 million tourists began their voyage from Port Everglades located in Broward County. Port Canaveral was also not much behind with the figure of 1.7 million in Brevard County. Almost 30 percent of all cruise passengers were state residents. The Port of Tampa located in the Western part of Florida is also coming up fast carving a suitable niche for Cruise Tourism. Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and Holland American are some of the known names that operate from the Port of Tampa. They collectively cater over one million tourists per year to the different locations such as Caribbean and Central America (Henthorn, 2014).
Experts say that most cruise lines have their corporate offices located at Florida generating over 131,000 jobs in the state. Recently, Disney cruise Line began its operations with a 4000 passenger ships from Port Canaveral that signifies that business is on rise. At least forty two cruise ships in the Florida keep its terminals occupied with the activities round the year. It is certainly not a small feat that Florida generates over half of the total US cruise lines business (Investing in Tourism, 2012).
It is interesting to know about the profile of cruisers. Cruisers are usually an affluent class that averages 46 years in age. Average annual income of cruisers is estimated at around $93000. Most Cruisers tend to stay in Florida for a few days before commencing or after completion of their cruise trop. They spend, on average, nearly $264 in Florida during their stay (Investing in Tourism, 2012). Weeden et al. (2011) argue that though the cruise industry is now making all attempts to lure first-time cruisers but it is equally true that they are now embarking on to managing the more demanding expectations of experienced cruisers. Cruising business operators, small and large, are now making concerted efforts to develop the cruising environment-friendly by selecting appropriate technologies. Edensor (2014) argues that small ships such as Wild Earth Travel are focusing on “educating their passengers in how best to preserve these fragile ecosystems;larger cruise lines are also striving to reach ever-more sustainable benchmarks.” Wild Earth’s small-ship cruises provide onboard education to the passengers through responsible travel experts, leading conservation policy-makers and experienced naturalists (Edensor, 2014).
Thus, it is amply clear that cruising in particular is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry across the state. As such, the state is already known for its tourist destination due to numerous theme parks, beaches and winter sunshine but cruising is fast coming up as a major contributor to the state economy carving a suitable niche for itself. With increasing numbers of companies participating in this booming cruise travel business, customers are also getting benefitted by variety and distinct recreational facilities.
- Edensor, H. (2014). Cruising heads toward a greener future. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from http://www.travelweekly.com.au/news/cruising-toward-a-greener-future
- Florida Quick Facts. State of Florida. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=95
- Henthorn, D. (2014). 10 Reasons to Visit Tampa Bay. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from http://goflorida.about.com/od/tampawestcoast/a/tampabay.htm
- Investing in Tourism (2012). Florida Taxwatch. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from http://floridataxwatch.org/resources/pdf/2013TourismFINAL.pdf
- Weeden, C., Lester, J., Thyne, M. (2011). Cruise tourism: Emerging issues and implications for a maturing industry. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. 18. 26-29