Here in Florida we are used to the annual migration of residents from the Northeastern U.S., Upper Midwest and Canada as they make their winter treks to Florida. Many stay for the season.
But as the rest of the country seeks relaxation in the Sunshine State, we thought it would be interesting to ask where Floridians take their trips. The answer, according to an analysis of hotel booking data is that we too favor Florida. A look at the numbers reveals that residents of Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee are all most likely to book hotels in other Florida cities.
Will Seccombe, president and CEO of Visit Florida, says he isn't surprised by the data. "It makes sense if you live in paradise, you'll explore it," he says of the intra-state travel trend. He adds that new attractions that draw out-of-staters also appeal to Floridians, such as the just-opened Fantasyland at Disney World, SeaWorld's upcoming Antarctica exhibit and the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Space Center.
As the theme park capital of America, and perhaps the world, Orlando is also a powerful magnet for in-state visitors. It's the most-booked destination for Miami, Jacksonville and Tallahassee residents, while setting an overall record of 55.1 million visitors in 2011, according to VisitOrlando.
For their part, Orlando residents stay particularly close to home -- 9 of their 10 most-booked destinations are also in the state, with Atlanta being the lone exception. Jacksonville and Tallahassee also show 8 of 10 destinations in-state, adding scenic Savannah, Ga., to Atlanta. The farthest-flung destination for any Florida travelers in the survey is New York City, ranked number seven for Miami travelers (many of whom perhaps lived there before retiring to South Florida).
Tampa area residents tend to visit Orlando, Miami and the Keys... if they leave the area at all. Tampa boasts numerous attractions and the Best Beach In The USA (Clearwater Beach) according to TripAdviser.com.