Florida tourism hits record high – again

TAMPA, Fla. — For the fourth consecutive year, the number of tourists visiting Florida reached record numbers.

Gov. Rick Scott announced that according to preliminary estimates released by VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, 97.3 million visitors came to Florida in 2014, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2013.

This is the fourth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 93.7 million in 2013. The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2014 was also a record high, with 1,135,700 Floridians employed in the tourism industry, up 3.6 percent from 2013.

“We are excited to announce that Florida welcomed more than 97 million visitors in 2014 marking the fourth consecutive record year for tourism in the Sunshine State,” Scott said. “Not only are visitors coming to our state at record levels, but there are also a record number of Floridians employed in our tourism industry. Florida’s natural beauty, pristine beaches and exciting attractions continue to bring countless visitors to our state and provide valuable jobs for our families. Our tourism industry is vital to helping Florida become the global destination for  jobs, and this year we are proposing in our ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ budget an additional $17.5 million so VISIT FLORIDA can market our state and continue our unprecedented growth in visitors.”

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 11.5 million overseas visitors and 3.8 million Canadians came to Florida in 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent increases over 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 4.2 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in 2014 and show that Floridians took a record total of 20.2 million in-state pleasure trips.

For fourth quarter 2014, preliminary estimates show a record 22.4 million people visited the Sunshine State. This represents the largest fourth quarter visitation number Florida has ever seen and reflects an increase of 2.8 percent over the same period in 2013.  VISIT FLORIDA also reports that an estimated 3.1 million overseas visitors traveled to Florida in the fourth quarter of 2014, an increase of 0.5 percent, and 765,000 Canadians traveled to Florida, reflecting an increase of 5.6 percent over the same period in 2013.

“In 2014, a record 97.3 million tourists visited the state of Florida, an increase of 3.6 million people.  That means there were nearly 4 percent more visitors spending money in Florida last year,” said Andrew Hertz, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.  “Anyone would be happy to see their business grow by 4 percent year-over-year.  But it is absolutely amazing when an entire industry keeps beating record numbers, while adding jobs and supporting the rest of the state’s economy.”

Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.7 percent increase over the same period in 2013.  For 2014, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.7 percent and the number of rooms sold grew by 5.3 percent compared to 2013. Florida’s average occupancy rate for 2014 was 69.7 percent, an increase of 4.4 percent over 2013.  This represents a record year for the statewide calendar year occupancy rate, exceeding the previous high of 69.0 percent in 2005. ADR, occupancy and rooms sold all increased every month year-over-year in 2014.

Source: Gov. Rick Scott

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Dean Anderson

Based in Rome, Dean Anderson is an awarding-winning freelance journalist with 23 years of experience as a writer and photographer. Dean is a freelance contributor for a number of publications including the Associated Press. He enjoys spending his free time traveling Europe w...

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