Hillsborough, Pinellas officials discuss drop in tourism due to pandemic

The novel coronavirus has infected more than half a million Floridians and led to a massive hit in tourism. The Pinellas County tourism development tax shows declines over the last several months. 

Wednesday, a new roughly $2 million dollar marketing campaign was unveiled to the county’s Tourist Development Council. It promotes and encourages safe-visiting. 

PREVIOUS: Struggling businesses push commercial real estate into the red

Over in Hillsborough County, tourism numbers are also showing a COVID-19 slump. Hotel occupancy is down 34% compared to this time last year. 

Meanwhile, the upcoming Labor Day holiday could prove to be a double-edged sword for Florida. While the state has shown progress as of late against the virus, an influx of up to a million out-of-state travelers could provide a much needed economic boost, while at the same time flood the state with new cases of COVID-19.  

RELATED: USF survey finds most Floridians support statewide mask mandate, keeping schools closed

“The combination of schools starting and a million coming to the state from all over the place, we’ve got to be extra careful. Let’s not lose this opportunity to keep that curve down,” said Jay Wolfson, a professor at the University of South Florida.