Space Coast tourism expected to bounce back in 2021

Dark clouds loomed over a usually sunny Florida when the coronavirus pandemic hit the tourism industry. But this year, things are looking up, analysts say, especially for one Florida county with an already busy schedule. 

In Brevard County, the director of tourism says they lost approximately $500 million last year in visitor spending. Now, they're hoping to make up for the lost time. 

"The Space Coast was literally the number one location for launches in 2020. We had the most launches in the world. We think that is going to continue into 2021," said Peter Cranis, the Space Coast Office of Tourism executive director.

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With a full calendar of launches scheduled, Cranis predicts Brevard could draw hundreds of thousands of visitors. He is also feeling confident about a significant return in cruising and visitors flying into Orlando. 

"A lot of people are hopping in their car and wanting a beach getaway, so we are benefiting from that. We are hoping by spring and summer that we will begin to see some of those visitors coming from a little farther north," Cranis said. 

The Space Coast Office of Tourism is spending $2 million on a summer marketing campaign. That’s more than double what they spent in 2020. 

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"If you are coming to the beach for a vacation why not come to the space coast because it is very likely that at any given time you might see a launch. I mean, they are doing about a launch a week and so that’s something that we will incorporate into our promotions very heavily," Cranis said.

The Space Coast will have some star power too. Actor Tom Cruise is expected to film one of his next movies at the International Space Station.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest news.