By Javier Manjarres
Tourism in Florida is booming according to Florida Governor Rick Scott, as he announced that 89.3 million visitors came to the Sunshine State in 2012, an increase of more than 2.3% or an additional two million tourists who visited the state in 2011. Scott also claimed that hiring within the tourism industry in Florida is robust, as the tourism industry employs 1,030,600 Floridians who have “direct travel related jobs”, another record accomplishment.
According to Smith Travel Research, Florida is leading the rest of the U.S. tourism market by .3 percentage points.
Scott’s office made the announcement in conjunction with the preliminary estimates that were released today by VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation-
“Welcoming two million more visitors in 2012 marks the second consecutive record year for tourism in the Sunshine State,” Governor Scott said. “With the hospitality sector ending the year up 30,300 jobs, it’s clear that more visitors means more jobs for Florida families. Our economy is headed in the right direction and with our Florida Families First Budget commitment of $75 million in funding to support VISIT Florida, we will continue to support even more economic growth.” - Governor Rick Scott
Scott’s office also released a statement outlining Florida’s tourism accomplishments and benchmarks from VISIT FLORIDA-
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 10.2 million overseas visitors and 3.6 million Canadians came to Florida in 2012, both of which are record highs and represent 9.0 percent and 7.3 percent increases over 2011 respectively. Estimates reflect a 1.2 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in 2012 and show that Floridians took a total of 20.3 million in-state pleasure trips.
“Surpassing the 10 million overseas visitor mark for the first time ever is a significant milestone for Florida’s tourism industry,” said Glenn Hastings, Chairman of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. “With over 10 percent of all Canadians traveling to Florida last year, we are exceedingly grateful for the loyalty of our friends and family to the North.”