Tampa International Airport sees a large number of passengers coming to the Tampa Bay area

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TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) — The summer rush is on in Tampa Bay and local businesses are ready for action.

Tampa International Airport is seeing a huge surge in travelers coming to the Tampa Bay area…and local business owners are responding.

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“Last night we did 4,600. 4,600 in one day, which is absolutely out of this world, and so we noticed a significant increase in foot traffic,” said Craig Severson, owner of Tropical Ice Cream.

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“It’s very busy, tourism has picked up,” said Cecily Benga, manager of Pipo and Betty’s Bakery.

Corporate employees along Indian Rocks Beach are seeing more customers walk through their doors this summer than the past two years.

“We see a lot of families coming in. Many of them come from areas where you wouldn’t normally see them. From California and other areas like Texas,” Severson said.

We learned that approximately 60,000 passengers a day arrive at Tampa International Airport. And some days are showing record numbers compared to pre-pandemic travel.

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“They all go to the beach, we are busy, very early in the morning, until mid-afternoon when we close at two o’clock,” Benga said.

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Benga says she has also noticed there are more places to stay.

“It’s definitely picked up. There are more AirBnBs here locally, so I think a lot of people are coming to visit Florida more,” Benga said.

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She says it’s great for business.

“The morning queue lasts about three hours, but it moves quickly,” Benga said.

Severson also likes what he sees.

“I’m happy. It could have, with the pandemic, it could have gone the other way,” Severson said.

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Employees say they don’t expect business to slow down, but in fact expect it to pick up as the summer continues.

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