PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The Pensacola area has seen a record number of tourists coming to visit over the past 12 months, according to tourism officials.
At the same time, hotels are struggling, like many businesses, to find employees to work for them.
“Whether it’s housekeeping, front desk, or maintenance, we’re hiring at every single one of the hotels where we could use extra people in every position,” hotel owner Mitesh Patel said.
Patel owns about half a dozen hotels in Pensacola. He says earlier in the pandemic they were short staffed because of COVID-19 cases, but lately they just can’t find anyone to work.
“Now we’re not getting so many people that are getting sick,” Patel said. “It’s just not so many people that are coming in and applying for the jobs that are open.”
While hotels and other businesses struggle with staff shortages, “Visit Pensacola” gathered Wednesday night for its annual meeting and some good tourism news in the city and along the beaches.
“2020 was really a challenge and I would have to say I’ve really enjoyed the last 12 months that have really been record-setting months as far as visitor demand and hotel performance,” Visit Pensacola President and CEO Darien Schaefer said.
That record-setting number of visitors means in the past year, Pensacola has collected a record amount of revenue from the tourist development tax.
“$17.6 million in TDT revenue which is certainly a record,” Schaefer said. “Even when we compare going back to 2019. We’re up 23 percent over what happened in 2019 and that was our best year on record.”
Schaefer said they’re expecting these high numbers to continue over the next six months and hotel owners are hoping to see more people putting in job applications.