Kissimmee, Florida – According to AAA, Orlando is the number one travel destination for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend in the United States
It is expected that most tourists come from here in the “Sunshine State”.
This year, Memorial Day Travel is not expected to top 2019 numbers, which saw 2.3 million Florida holiday weekend travelers.
With just under 2.2 million people expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, Visit Orlando reports advance hotel bookings are up 97% from 2019.
Seasons Florida Resort owner Peter Sharma can sum up his Memorial Day weekend reservations at his Kissimmee hotel in a few simple words: “It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” Sharma says looking at her reservations.
The 120-room hotel is expected to be full from Friday May 27 to Monday May 30. When looking at who is from where, the common theme is travelers in the state.
“We’re primarily a Florida destination at the moment,” Sharma says.
Despite high prices at the pump, AAA reports that more than 9 in 10 Memorial Day travelers will drive to their destinations, meaning the out-of-state guests Sharma will have is a new stream of business that he never saw it coming.
The hotel owner says more than 50% of all its bookings this year have been made by out-of-state travelers.
“The main reason we’re here is because of Disney,” Sharma says from her Kissimmee hotel. “It’s so amazing that you come on the weekend, you won’t find a parking space here, and no, we didn’t think Florida State business would save us.”
Sharma has owned this hotel for a decade. His best year was in 2019 when he generated $2 million in sales. In 2020, it was less than half a million.
Sharma blames the coronavirus pandemic for this.
This year, Seasons Florida Resort is looking to make a splash – on pace with a record year of $2.5 million in sales.
“Yeah, we’ve been closed for 13 months,” Sharma begins to explain. “We didn’t want to open it until we had decent sized numbers. Now it’s a different ball game all together.
In just a few months, Sharma went from selling his business to selling his business.
The average price in Florida right now for a gallon of gas is $4.50. In 2021, the average was $2.86 per gallon. In the booming tourist year of 2019, $2.60 per gallon.
The previous high for a gallon of gasoline in Florida on Memorial Day weekend was in 2008 at $3.93 per gallon.
As for the average cost of a midscale hotel, prices this year will be up about 42% from last year.