UPDATED 9:42 AM PT – Thursday, February 17, 2022
The Sunshine State is reporting better gains than it did before the COVID-19 pandemic. During a press briefing Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis touted his state garnered $36.2 billion in revenue for the 2021 fiscal year, beating out auditor expectations.
DeSantis stressed this is largely due to the nearly 120 million Americans who flocked to the state, adding this is the highest number every recorded in Florida. He claims Americans gravitated towards Florida because of its lax pandemic response and a desire to avoid the hassle of traveling internationally.
“But then if you’re looking to travel domestically, who wants to travel someplace where you want to go get a hamburger and you have to show your medical papers or they force you to wear masks?” asked the governor. “Or they force you to do all these things. And so, in Florida we don’t do that. It’s a free state. “
The Florida Republican went on to say domestic travel to his state was higher than travel to New York. He also proudly pointed out many of the visitors to the Sunshine State were Democrat leaders who decried Florida for it’s non-draconian response to the pandemic.
“You have governors that have locked down their states, imposed mandates, imposed restrictions,” explained DeSantis. “You have big city mayors that have imposed lockdown policies. You have people on TV, news networks, that advocate for restrictions and lockdowns. And almost all of the have been criticizing Florida for a year and a half, and yet many of them are part of our visitation figures.”
The governor also said the influx in travel didn’t just come from Americans. He claimed at least three-times as many Canadians came to Florida than ever before over the past couple of years. This comes as Canadian officials have imposed restrictive COVID lockdowns as well as face mask and vaccine mandates that have sparked international outrage.
Governor DeSantis announces Florida had 30.9 million visitors from October to December, the second consecutive quarter where visitation has topped pre-pandemic levels. https://t.co/fPkB78roLp
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 15, 2022
Additionally, he lambasted officials who are holding on to nationwide mask mandates, especially on young children. In the meantime, DeSantis welcomed any and all travelers to his state. He said they can expect sunshine, great hospitality and freedom.