Florida is feeling wild this year.
No state has had worse recent luck than Florida in attracting tourism, and that might create better conditions for your own trip there.
First you had the terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Then you had Hurricane Hermine.
In between was the devastating announcement that Zika infections had been discovered in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami just north of downtown (which soon spread to an area of Miami Beach). Add them all, and the result has been a decline in tourism to one of America's favorite sun destinations, which is particularly pronounced (for the time being) in a sharp downturn in air bookings there for the Thanksgiving weekend.
All of this has been further worsened by currency developments occurring independent of the Zika problem. Florida is today heavily affected by international tourism, and international tourism there has been reduced by the strong U.S. dollar, which makes Florida more expensive for foreigners. The chief source of winter tourism to Florida—namely, Canada—has been especially hurt by the remarkably steep drop in the value of the Canadian dollar, which has cut the number of Canadian visitors by several percentage points. British travel to Florida (its second major source) is down with the drop in value of the British Pound following that nation's disastrous decision to leave the European Union. And Brazilian tourism to Florida—another important source—is down because of a severe economic recession in Brazil.
So do all these dark events mean happy days for us potential American visitors to Florida? Will there now be more empty hotel beds and airline seats for us Yanks? Should we—selfishly but joyfully—plan a trip there?
Everything depends on Zika, as to which there are a few hopeful trends. To begin with, the upcoming winter is a season when far fewer mosquitoes are found in Florida, and therefore a lessened chance of Zika. Second, there are indications that heavy aerial spraying has reduced the mosquito infestation in Florida, and local authorities have withdrawn their warnings about the Wynwood district, based on successful spraying there. While precautions still apply to Miami Beach, it may be that similar spraying may ease the problem there in the next several weeks.
It pays to watch the newspapers for word as to whether Zika is no longer a problem. If, in the weeks ahead, that threat is removed, then Florida—and especially the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas—may be a better holiday destination for Americans, because of the fewer international tourists competing for beds and airplane seats.