Preliminary estimates from the state’s official tourism marketing organization show the largest third-quarter numbers of visitors in the Sunshine State’s history, Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday.
“Today’s announcement of another record quarter for visitation clearly shows ‘It’s Working’ in Florida,” Scott said in a statement from his office. “Because every 85 visitors to our state support one Florida job; a growing tourism industry equates to more jobs for Florida families and a stronger economy. As we move toward our third consecutive year of record tourism growth, it is clear why the Sunshine State remains the top travel destination across the world. ”
The announcement also said:
Through the first three quarters of 2013, Florida welcomed 72.6 million visitors – an increase of 3.4 percent over the same period last year. Visitor spending in Florida for January-August 2013 (last reported month) was $51.8 billion, representing a year-over-year increase of 5.8 percent from the same period in 2012. Direct travel-related employment in Florida for January-August (last reported month) rose 2.8 percent, adding 29,700 jobs since this same time one year ago. Each of these figures marks a record, making the first three quarters of 2013 the largest nine-month period in the history of Florida’s tourism industry.
“So far this year, we’re up nearly 2.5 million visitors who increased their spending by almost $3 billion, led by a double-digit increase in international visitors,” said Tammy Gustafson, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “This continued momentum is a testament to the strength of VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts, the power of the Sunshine State brand and the dedication of the nearly 1.1 million Floridians who work in the state’s tourism industry.”
An estimated 19.5 million domestic visitors came to Florida during the third quarter of 2013, representing a 0.5 percent increase from the same period in 2012. Florida welcomed 2.9 million overseas visitors in Q3 2013, representing a 10.1 percent increase over Q3 2012, and 516,000 Canadian visitors during the same period, representing a 2.9 percent increase from the previous year.
“Record visitor numbers equate to record visitor spending,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “With taxable sales up, occupancy rates up, rental car collections up, bed taxes up and average daily room rates up, Florida’s tourism industry has never been stronger.”
Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said, “These newly released tourism numbers are encouraging to our more than 10,000 members of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in our effort to attract over 100 million visitors to the Sunshine State. As Florida’s largest employer, our tourism and hospitality industry is on the front lines each and every day in providing a world class experience to visitors coming to our state for business meetings, conventions, vacations and milestone celebrations. We thank Florida Governor Rick Scott and members of the Florida Legislature for providing a pro-business and pro-family environment which not only attracts national and international tourists, but supports job creation and growth here at home.”
Additional Preliminary Data:
- The Average Daily Room Rate rose 3.6 percent to $102.69 and the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 1.9 percentage points to 62.7 percent in Q3 2013 compared to Q3 2012.
- Tourism-related employment has lead the state in growth for 41 straight months
- Nearly 13.6 million Florida residents are estimated to have taken a pleasure trip during Q3 2013.
- The share of in-state pleasure trips by residents was 42.3 percent, resulting in more than 5.7 million pleasure trips in-state – a 6.2 percent increase from the same time last year.
- Traffic at the state’s five Official Florida Welcome Centers managed by VISIT FLORIDA was up 4.0% in Q3 2013.
*Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report.
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