A new study by vacation rental search site Tripping.com claims that searches for vacation rentals in areas in Florida impacted by last year’s Hurricane Irma are down this summer.
According to the report, which draws on Tripping.com searches for vacation rentals between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend for 2018, several popular beaches in Florida and the Florida Keys that were hard-hit by last year’s hurricane have seen declines this year. For example, vacation rental searches in Key West are down 38 percent, while Perdido Key is down 32 percent and Marathon is down 11 percent. Marco Island, where the storm made landfall a second time, is down 11 percent.
At the same time, many destinations in Florida are showing signs of growth, Tripping.com said, particularly in the Florida Panhandle, which largely escaped the storm. Vacation rental searches in Port Saint Joe are up 71 percent, while Pensacola Beach is up 66 percent and Miramar Beach is up 42 percent.
Since last year’s historic storm the Florida Keys have been making steady progress in the destination’s tourism recovery. According to the most recent report, 86 percent of its lodging is back online, and a number of all-new hotels are set to debut this year. Altogether, the Keys are set to add nearly 1,500 rooms to their lodging inventory, including at the new, adults-only Bungalows Key Largo; the Fisher Inn Resort & Marina and the boutique Hadley House Resort.
New airlift for Key West is also on tap, including new, twice-weekly seasonal nonstop service on United Airlines from Chicago O’Hare starting June 2 and weekly American Airlines service from Dallas-Fort Worth starting June 9. United is also increasing its seasonal service from Newark to year-round service, starting October 4.