An uncertain future for business travel to SWFL

Published: July 28, 2021 9:09 AM EDT
Updated: July 28, 2021 10:32 AM EDT

The COVID-19 pandemic crushed many business sectors, and one unlikely to fully rebound soon is business travel. A new study by TaxWatch suggests 20% of business travel in Florida will never recover.

This would affect everything from tourism to traffic and even the success of restaurants in places like Fort Myers Beach. This could be cause for concern, but many Floridians aren’t worried about these findings. They believe that our business travel will be fine, it’s just going to take some time to recover.

“I think that’s silly, but that’s my personal opinion,” said one traveler named Bob. “Because people are going to come back to Florida.”

“The business climate here in Florida is quite good,” said Dr. Jase Ramsey, a professor of international business at Florida Gulf Coast University. “I think that we should see a bounce back quicker than most areas due to these things. And I think the numbers are starting to show that.”

“They get a little fatigued from doing the Zoom thing all the time,” said a real estate broker from New Jersey named Kim. “And I think that people are a little bit dispensable when you’re not interacting and you don’t have that energy together, and I think there’s a lot to collaborating in person for business.”

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) reported 839,377 passengers traveled through the airport in June, a 253% increase over 2020 and a 43% increase over 2019.