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Florida's Economy Takes $23B Hit From Empty Cruise Ships, Ports

Cruise ship docked at Port Tampa Bay

Tourism in Florida has taken a big hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. The losses are especially bad in the cruise industry. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order for cruise ships in March. Major cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian have cancelled sailings through the end of October.  

“We have the top three cruise ports in the world," said Doug Wheeler, CEO of the Florida Ports Council. (Miami, Port Canaveral, and Port Everglades are the top three. Port Tampa Bay ranks lower, serving about one million passengers a year). "So for them to effectively overnight lose a substantial portion of their revenues, that makes it tough for a lot of decisions that have to be made relative to capital projects and staffing and planning and so forth.”

RELATED: Florida Ports Ask Congress For Help

The Ports Council says the loss of cruises, along with a slowdown in cargo traffic, has led to a $23 billion loss for Florida’s economy. 

The state’s ports are asking for financial help from Congress, but it isn’t clear if that money will be included in the next round of pandemic relief.

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