Florida boasts record tourist numbers despite media fear-mongering about the state

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Clay Travis on Florida’s handling of COVID-19: ‘Ron DeSantis was right’

Outkick founder Clay Travis joined ‘Fox & Friends’ to discuss how Florida has responded to the pandemic as more Americans choose to vacation and live in the Sunshine State.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis boasted a record number of tourists visited his state in 2021 and officially topped pre-pandemic numbers.

At a Tuesday news conference in Fort Walton Beach, DeSantis touted the large numbers of out-of-state visitors Florida had in the past year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a joint session of a legislative session, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

“In 2021, we had the most domestic visitation in the history of our state,” DeSantis said, reporting 118 million visitors to the state within the year.

The fourth quarter saw approximately 30.8 million visitors, a 7% increase when compared to the 29 million tourists that visited during the fourth quarter in 2019.

DeSantis attributed these growing numbers to Florida’s lack of vaccine and mask mandates compared to more progressive states in the country.

“Who wants to travel some place when you want to get a hamburger you have to show your medical papers?” DeSantis said “In Florida, we don’t do that. We are not doing passports. We are not doing mandates.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Democrats and their allies in the media have continuously attacked DeSantis for his COVID policies.

SURFSIDE, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arrives to speak during a press conference at the Shul of Bal Harbour on June 14, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Miami – April 28, 2018: Sunbathers gather on a sunny weekend afternoon on South Beach as summer weather sets in.  
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images  |  istock)

Local newspapers like the Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel frequently publish columns and misleading headlines against the governor suggesting that he was refusing to promote vaccines and his policies were leading to record levels of deaths. 

“Last lesson of 2021, Florida: Omicron happens when we act selfishly, like Gov. DeSantis,” Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago wrote. 

National media also piled on DeSantis . CNN anchor Jim Acosta suggest that “instead of the delta variant, why not call it the DeSantis variant?”

Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo spent several days on his show attacking and scolding DeSantis. Meanwhile, he was giving praise and positive coverage of his brother then-NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The liberal network also gave extensive coverage to DeSantis opponents like Florida conspiracy theorist Rebekah Jones.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid went even further with her inflammatory commentary. She went as far as to suggest that DeSantis was “killing children” in his own state to “own the libs.”


Ocasio-Cortez was spotted in Florida with her boyfriend amid a coronavirus spike in New York City, in a photo published by National Review. 
(National Review/Anonymous)

In response to these attacks, DeSantis pointed out the hypocrisy from many Democrats and those in the media for choosing to vacation in Florida while also denouncing the state’s policies.

“If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who decided to escape to Florida over the last two years, I’d be a pretty doggone wealthy man, let me tell you,” DeSantis joked. “I mean, Congress people, mayors, governors, I mean you name it.”.

Fueling Florida’s record tourist numbers were some prominent Democrats like like “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y.

 Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Cortney O’Brien, Angelica Stabile and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.

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