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This Memorial Day travel weekend expected to be the most active in three years

Tampa Skyline with the Hillsborough River in the foreground
City of Tampa
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One leader expects strong tourism numbers to continue this spring and and into summer.

And a local tourism leader says the weekend's numbers might even break records.

Since 2020, many Floridians have skipped their beach vacations to try to avoid the coronavirus.

But this upcoming Memorial Day is expected to be the busiest weekend for travel statewide since the pandemic began, according to a new report from the AAA Auto Club.

Auto club officials estimate that nearly 2.2 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more this weekend.

Read more: Florida reports record-breaking tourism numbers as a post-COVID rebound continues

Santiago Corrada is the President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. He said there are a number of events in town this weekend — from a bikers rally to a big convention — and expects the influx of visitors to break records.

"If that holiday weekend is like any of the others that we have experienced, we're probably going to see a record setting Memorial Day weekend," he said. "I'd be very surprised if it isn't our best ever."

Corrada adds that the area has already been seeing very strong tourism numbers this spring and expects that to continue this summer.

Visit Florida recently released a report that shows the state's tourism industry continues to rebound. Just in the first quarter of 2022 alone, a record 36 million people visited Florida.

That continues an upward trend for the state that was interrupted by the coronavirus.

The number of visitors to the state was up 39.6 percent from the first quarter of last year — and about 19.3 percent higher than the first quarter of 2020, as well as more than 1.3 percent above the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2019.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.
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