TAMPA (FOX 13) - Spring break season is officially here and Florida's tourism industry expects record crowds in the sunshine state.
A spokesperson for AAA says each of the recent holidays - like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year - have been record-setting. He expects that trend to continue.
Tampa International Airport estimates 3.1 million passengers will travel through its terminals. That's a seven percent increase from last year.
And you know a lot of those travelers are going to be headed straight to the beach. Restaurant managers say they're already doing record sales and there's an obvious reason why.
"All these new hotels - Opal Sand, Edge - they're at 100 percent capacity right now,” explained Salty’s Island Bar and Grille manager, Josh Walters. “So in the years past, with all this construction going on, there wasn't enough people out here. Now we have 10,000 more people than we had years prior coming out, plus a new parking garage on the north end of the beach is making so locals can even come out, make it easier for them to travel out here.”
Walters says Salty’s smashed its sales record by $2,000 last weekend and he expects to keep topping that mark during the next few weeks.
TIA's official spring break travel period began Friday, March 2, and runs through Monday, April 16.
Southwest Airlines is adding as many as 39 daily departures to all of its existing destinations beginning March 8.
TSA is also adding two permanent security lines beginning March 2 to move the extra 300 passengers per hour through quickly.