MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Canadian tourists and snowbirds, who have traditionally flocked to South Florida to escape the harshness of winter, chose to stay home last winter due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Their decision, driven primarily by COVID-related travel restrictions, has had an impact on South Florida motel and hotel operators, who year after year depend on the revenue generated by visitors to the north.
READ MORE: Pair of Fort Lauderdale police officers injured in brawl at Dillard High School
Hoteliers said Canadian tourists were hard to find during the winter season in Broward County, especially Hollywood, where visitors from the north congregate during the season.
âIn December, January, February, when I’m full of Canadiansâ¦ we lost about $ 300,000 in income in those three months by not having Canadians. It was painful, âsaid Richard Clavet.
Clavet operates Richard’s Motel and several other Hollywood motels and apartments that cater to Canadians fleeing the inclement weather north of the border.
âFinally, it happened in December, when we were filled with Canadians. There were only five couples from Canada, âsaid Clavet. “These five couples did not stay because they were afraid.”
The pandemic has affected travel to Canada. It has become very difficult to travel due to the restrictions related to COVID.
There were mandatory pre-flight tests for the coronavirus “rel =” noopener “target =” _ blank “> coronavirus and a mandatory quarantine of 14 days after entering the country.
The borders were also closed and it became a major problem that most Canadians were not prepared to accept. As a result, South Florida saw fewer Canadians on boardwalks.
READ MORE: Authorities are still awaiting official ID that remains found of missing teenager Miya Marcano
âI went to Hollywood beach one night. It was full of people, but no Canadians, âsaid Clavet.
The Canadian hot spots at Broward have gone without Canadians.
In previous years, an average of 3.5 million Canadians visited Florida each year, spending $ 6.5 billion, which translates to half a billion dollars in tax revenue for the state.
About 18,000 Canadians own a home in Broward County.
Regarding Richard’s Motel and other Broward properties, âI’m so happy the Governor has opened up the state. It’s nice. I had the best March I have ever had here at the Motel, April also the best. May, so far a great month and I feel bad that there are no Canadians! said Clavet.
Fortunately, Americans, regional travelers, and weekend travelers keen on spending time at the beach and getting out of the house have made up the shortfall.
âIt’s booming. The place is full, âsaid Clavet.
NO MORE NEWS: Man bitten by shark off South Florida beach
Clavet said he felt the influx of American tourists when stimulus checks started pouring in, as people were getting their shots and because people were getting their tax returns.