The Sunshine State welcomed an estimated 79.1 million visitors during the first nine months of 2015, the most of any such period in Florida’s history.
The nine-month count was a 5.5 percent increase when compared with the same period in 2014.
Gov. Rick Scott has set a goal of drawing more than 100 million tourists to Florida this year, and that now seems within fairly easy reach.
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 22.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in the third quarter of 2015, reflecting an 8.2 percent increase over the same period last year.
Estimates also show that 3.4 million international visitors came to Florida in quarter three of 2015. Preliminary figures for the first three quarters of 2015 show 67.4 million domestic visitors, 8.3 million overseas visitors and 3.4 million Canadians have come to the Sunshine State.
Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “With three record quarters and a fifth consecutive record year on the horizon, it’s clear that this continued growth does not happen by accident. It’s the direct result of a global marketing strategy focused on maximizing the economic impact of Florida tourism.
“Today’s announcement shows tourism marketing works and we have Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to thank for their unparalleled support that will enable us to reach our goal of generating $100 billion in visitor spending by 2020.”
Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased year-over-year for January through August 2015 (last reported month), representing an 8.2 percent increase over the same period in 2014.
For quarter three of 2015, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.1 percent, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 3.6 percent and the demand in rooms sold grew 4.8 percent compared to quarter three of 2014.
John Tomlin, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, said, “The continued growth of tourism for the third quarter, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, puts Florida on pace for a fifth consecutive record breaking year.
“These records also emphasize the power of tourism as an economic leader and job creator for the state. Outcomes like these are the direct result of the vision and support of the Governor, Legislature and our amazing tourism industry, as well as world-class strategies and execution by the VISIT FLORIDA staff.”
Bill Talbert, Vice Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “Florida’s tourism continues to make history with another record-shattering quarter. New and established hotels, attractions, restaurants and hospitality-related businesses are fueling strong industry job growth and increased tax revenues.
Those who enthusiastically welcome and serve our visitors continue to deliver great experiences, contributing to our state’s growing popularity. We are fortunate to have a Governor and Legislature that support our industry and VISIT FLORIDA so that we can share the diverse treasures of our state with the world.”
Florida is fortunate to have the strong support of Governor Scott and the Legislature, as well as funding matched by dollars from great industry partners. This support allows VISIT FLORIDA to reach even more markets and potential visitors with compelling reasons to visit Florida and create memories that last a lifetime.”
Sun Sentinal/Sarasota Herald Tribune November 2015