When will typical numbers of tourists return to Florida?

ORLANDO, Fla. — Spring break is almost here and Visit Florida said travelers just aren’t ready to flock to the Sunshine State like in years past.

Visit Florida officials knew the last half of last year was a bust when it came to tourism. But now 2021 isn’t looking good until this summer.

READ: All Publix COVID-19 vaccine appointments booked: Here’s your next opportunity to get an appointment

Officials said the vaccine seems to be the key to bringing in vacationers.

Florida’s CFO wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee asking them to consider Florida if the postponed 2020 Olympics need to be moved because of concerns over the COVID-19 in Tokyo.

READ: Coronavirus: Should we be wearing two masks when we go out in public?

The letter continues to send the message that Florida is open for business – and visitors.

But numbers show the state has struggled during the pandemic. Orlando, a tourism hotspot, still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

Theme parks remain at limit capacity and hotels are still closed.

Visit Florida said there is a lot of interest in traveling to the state online, but people just aren’t ready to book.

Now that the vaccine has rolled out, tourism officials are rolling the dice for domestic summer travel.

But international travel could be a bit of a challenge since new restrictions are in place or going into place under President Joe Biden’s administration when it comes to some international visitors. But Visit Florida doesn’t seem to be worried.

They said international travelers book far out so they should be fine to come back at the later part of the year.

Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.