By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Floridians’ confidence about traveling safely has nearly doubled since the first quarter of the year despite a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

That’s according to a survey by the AAA auto club which found that 74 percent of Floridians are now more assured about hitting the road, getting on commercial planes or taking cruises, up from 40 percent in the first quarter of 2021.

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The report said the “comfort level has significantly increased as their concern about COVID-19 waned.”

At the same time, concerns about contracting COVID-19 dropped from 72 percent in the first quarter to 47 percent, according to the survey.

“AAA has experienced a surge in demand for travel as more Americans have become vaccinated and feel confident in their ability to vacation safely,” Debbie Haas, AAA vice president of travel, said in a prepared statement.

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The top reason for the increased optimism about traveling, given by 49 percent of respondents, was people being vaccinated against COVID-19.

About 48 percent of eligible Florida residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Florida Department of Health figures.

Florida attracted an estimated 79.75 million tourists in 2020, a 39.3 percent drop from 2019, according to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency. The 2020 figures were the lowest in a decade for a state that relies heavily on tourism to fuel its economy.

In the first quarter of this year, the state drew 26.16 million visitors, down from 30.4 million tourists during the first quarter of 2020. Second-quarter numbers from Visit Florida aren’t expected to be released until next month.

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