Letters to the Editor

Lower gas prices are driving historic surge in tourism

In the May 3 Miami Herald story “Miami tourism broke records in 2018,” the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau said more people visited South Florida last year than ever before.

[The story said that “more than 16.5 million overnight visitors came to Miami last year, dropping $18 billion into the local coffers. That’s a 3.5 percent increase in visitors from 2017... The visitor figures represent continuous growth over the past decade.” ]

This news followed a Feb. 20 Orlando Sentinel report based on another tourism agency, Visit Florida, which said that Florida drew 126.1 million visitors in 2018, also a record.

The pace has only accelerated in 2019.

On May 15, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that 35.7 million people visited our state between January and March this year, a historic high.

Many factors sparked these historic crowds, none more than lower gas prices, courtesy of expansions in energy production and infrastructure nationwide.

It wasn’t long ago when gasoline was more than $4 a gallon, and tourism agencies were handing out gas cards to offset costs and entice out-of-towners to visit.

Things sure have changed.

Pump prices, despite a recent bump, remain far below that historic mark.

Out-of-state visitors are no longer deterred from driving or flying here for business or pleasure.

Because a disruption in affordable prices would adversely impact tourism, we must learn from our $4-for-gas ways from years ago — and our lower prices of today — by continuing to push forward with what works: Energy development and expansion that keeps energy bills lower and our environment clean.

Kevin Doyle,

Florida director,

Consumer Energy Alliance,

Jacksonville

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