JACKSONVILLE (FLV) – President and CEO of Visit Jacksonville, Michael Corrigan, celebrated the city’s flourishing tourism industry post-pandemic.
Corrigan said Visit Jacksonville put an emphasis on marketing the city’s attractions to residents.
Visit Jacksonville provides travel information resources for the Jacksonville area. It is a Destination Market organization contracted by the Duval County Tourist Development Council.
“We know from past history that the best ambassadors to bring tourism to Jacksonville are people that live in Jacksonville,” Corrigan said. “The number one visitor to Jacksonville was family and friends of people that live here. So we reached out in an area that we typically never would do and we marketed to citizens in Jacksonville during that pandemic.”
Corrigan said people now realize the “amazing assets” that Jacksonville has to offer.
“More importantly, they’re now having their friends and family and others come into town and see the things that they never knew existed prior to pandemic. So Jacksonville’s role was to really promote what Jacksonville had to its own citizens during the pandemic so that once the pandemic started ending, we were ready to accept both locals and visitors into those venues,” Corrigan said.
According to Corrigan the pandemic shutdown gave time for many properties and places, such as the tourism industry to do much needed upgrades and renovations that they may have put off before.
“I think they used that period of time to be ready for the recovery,” Corrigan said.
The pandemic shutdowns made many visitors of Florida hesitant to come to the typical tourism spots, such as amusement parks in Central and South Florida, while some of them closed for a period of time.
“Everybody still wants to come to Florida, but still not sure about the whole, you know, standing in line and all that,” Corrigan said.
“What happened was a lot of people that never thought about coming to Jacksonville came here, as the recovery was taking place, and got here and realized this is Florida. They’ve got 22 miles of white sandy beaches, and you have amazing attractions and unbelievable shopping and everything else.”Michael Corrigan
According to Placer Labs, tourism foot traffic in Jacksonville recovered 126% from December of 2019 to December of 2022. Placer tracks foot traffic in cities across the United States.
Corrigan self-coined the phrase “legacy tourism” in Jacksonville.
“The legacy part is they realized, there’s a lot more here to see than I thought, we’re going to come back again. And that’s kind of created this multiple visit tourism that we had not really seen prior to the pandemic recovery,” Corrigan said.
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