Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Fri July 08 2016

Will Florida Take a Tourism Hit After Brexit?

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | July 08, 2016

Will Florida Take a Tourism Hit After Brexit?

 PHOTO: Orlando. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock) 

Florida has always had a large number of visitors from the UK, but now that the pound to dollar exchange rate has taken a big hit, tourism officials are asking how this will affect the state's tourism economy. 

According to Florida’s WUSF News, approximately 1.7 million tourists from the UK visited Florida last year. This is up 76,000 from the previous year. Only Canada sends more foreign visitors Florida’s way. 

The M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation at USF Sarasota-Manatee hosted an online panel discussion on the subject Wednesday and Dr. Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation, noted his concerns.

READ MORE: The Caribbean Could Pay A High Price for Brexit

"My main concern here is the volatility in the financial markets — that not only affects trading goods, that affects tourism, because people will sit and they'll just wait and they won't invest and they won't spend money," Parrish said.

He also noted that, even those travelers from the UK who do still make the trip, spending habits among them will likely change.

"They'll actually spend less money and spend less on taxable items," Parrish said. "For one thing ... they'll buy meals and cook it in their house or apartment or whatever they're renting over here, rather than go out to dinner."

This is not a problem that is just going to affect Florida. UK travelers are likely going to stay closer to home and, those that travel long haul, will most likely restrict their travel budgets and alter spending habits as Parrish notes in further detail in the article.

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