TAMPA, Fla. — More people are flocking to Tampa Bay for spring break. Bay area students will also be off all next week.
Tampa International Airport states it's projecting a record amount of travelers — up to 90,000 people, possibly more, during peak days. On average, 60,000 passengers go through the airport.
"It's a huge increase in passengers over spring break," TPA vice president of operations Adam Brouchard said.
Brouchard said preparations have been in place months in advance. Staffing is up across all lines of duty at the airport.
The airport suggests passengers arrive two hours before for domestic flights and three hours for international flights. Booking parking online is also an option to guarantee a spot in a preferred parking facility.
The Blue Express Curbside line also allows passengers without a checked bag to bypass the ticketing level and arrive directly to the transfer level of the main terminal.
Recently, TPA also announced it's the first airport in the nation to partner with Uber Eats. Passengers may order ahead and pick up their food or beverage without waiting in line.
Visitors like Greg Ancel of St. Louis, Mo. said he visited the area after 15 years. He visited to watch the Cardinals play the New York Yankees during spring training.
"The weather was great. The people were very friendly," Ancel said. "Traffic's a little heavy but that's traffic anywhere you go."
AAA also states 40% of Floridians plan to travel over spring break, according to a survey. That's up from 26% last year.
“Previous spring travel seasons were affected by COVID-19. However, Americans are largely more confident about traveling again, and AAA has seen very strong bookings for beach destinations, cruises, and attractions," Debbie Haas, AAA vice president of travel, stated in part.
Visitors contributed a direct impact of $4.5 billion in 2021, according to Visit Tampa Bay. The indirect and induced impacts resulted in a total economic impact of $7.1 billion to Hillsborough County alone.