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Disney's Hollywood Studios crowd

2020 was one of the worst years ever for tourism and thanks to a new report the extent of the damage done by the COVID-19 Pandemic is starting to come into sharper focus. According to the Orlando Sentinel, state tourism-marketing agency VisitFlorida is reporting that 86.714 million visitors came to the state during 2020. That was the lowest annual total since 2010. And while that figure is already very low, it could have been much worse, as travel during the spring and summer was almost nonexistant, with the state seeing a small rally in the fourth quarter, when 20.625 million travelers visited the state. 

Though vaccine rollouts are sweeping the US as quickly as possible, the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic will probably continue depressing guest levels at Florida theme parks in 2021 as travel levels are still very low and guests may not have the confidence to visit a theme park right now. 

However, the good news is that even though 2020 and 2021 will definitely be some of the most difficult years in history for theme park operators, at least one financial firm is predicting that parks around the world will reach historical attendance levels in 2022 due to pent-up demand for travel and entertainment. In addition, with cuts still in place from 2020, the report also predicts that profit margins will be higher as well, accelerating recovery efforts for Disney and other theme park companies. 

The news about the ten year low for Florida tourism is certainly unfortunate, but of course not entirely unexpected, And it seems unlikely that levels will plummet further, so at least theme park operators can look forward to some growth in 2021, even if it isn' quite the "return to normal" that many are hoping will arrive in 2022. What do you think? Will you be visiting a theme park in 2021 or 2022? 

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