Florida braces for all-time tourism high
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After posting three record quarters, Florida’s tourism industry is preparing to finish its best year ever.
Gov. Rick Scott announced that according to VISIT FLORIDA’s preliminary estimates 23.7 million visitors came to Florida in the third quarter of 2014 (July-September), an increase of 3.5 percent over the same period in 2013. This represents the largest third quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 22.9 million in Q3 2013.
“Florida’s thriving tourism industry is vital to growing jobs, and today’s report that Florida has experienced three record quarters so far in 2014, putting the state on pace for a fourth consecutive record year, is great news for Florida families. Tourism is a huge generator of jobs for our state and we invested $74 million into VISIT FLORIDA to create more opportunities for families,” Scott said.
Through the first three quarters of 2014, VISIT FLORIDA estimates that Florida has welcomed 73.9 million visitors – an increase of 2.5 percent over the same period last year. Visitor spending in Florida for January-August 2014 (last reported month) was $55.6 billion, representing a year-over-year increase of 7.3 percent from the same period in 2013. Direct travel-related employment in Florida for January-September (last reported month) rose 3.6 percent, adding 39,900 jobs since this same time one year ago and marking the 55th consecutive month of job growth for the tourism sector. Each of these figures marks a record, making the first three quarters of 2014 the largest nine-month period in the history of Florida’s tourism industry.
For quarter three, VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 2.9 million overseas visitors and 526,000 Canadians came to Florida, both of which are record Q3 highs and represent 2.2 percent and 1.8 percent increases over Q3 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 3.7 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in Q3 2014. Research also shows that Floridians took just over 7.9 million in-state pleasure trips during the third quarter, an increase of 37.7 percent from the same period last year.
“Florida’s tourism industry continues to break records for visitation, employment and visitor spending,” said Andrew Hertz, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “This momentum shows that the wise investment Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature have made in VISIT FLORIDA is paying off.”
In addition to the growth in visitor spending as determined by Tourism and Recreation Taxable Sales, Bed Tax also increased year-over-year for January-June 2014 (last reported month), representing a 10.4 percent jump over the same period last year. Other indicators were up for Q3 2014 as well, with the Average Daily Room Rate (ADR) rising 5.5 percent, the Occupancy Rate for Florida hotels increasing 5.4 percent and the Demand in Rooms Sold growing 6.8 percent compared to quarter three 2013.
“Florida tourism’s continued strength across all metrics indicates that we are well on our way to making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” said Will Seccombe, president and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.
Source: Gov. Rick Scott