According to preliminary estimates released by Visit Florida - the states official tourism marketing corporation - 94.7 million visitors came to Florida in 2013, an increase of 3.5 per cent over 2012. This represents a record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 91.5 million in 2012.
The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2013 was also a record high, with 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry - up 2.9 per cent from 2012. Rick Scott, governor, Florida said, With nearly 95 million visitors travelling to the Sunshine State, the news that Florida broke another record year for tourism is a victory for Florida families. Every 85 visitors to Florida equals one job in our state and it is clear that more visitors to the Sunshine State means more jobs for Florida families. That is why my Its Your Money Tax Cut Budget, commits US$100 million to Visit Florida so we can grow more job opportunities for Florida families.
Bill Davis, president, Universal Orlando Resort, said, "We are excited for our future in Florida and we are glad to be able to bring new jobs and economic growth to our community and to the state. We are also grateful for the strong public-private partnership that continues to help our industry grow."
Visit Florida estimates that 11.5 million overseas visitors and 3.7 million Canadians came to Florida in 2013, both of which are record highs and represent 11.1 per cent and 4.1 per cent increases over 2012 respectively. Estimates reflect a 2.5 per cent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in 2013 and show that Floridians took a record total of 20.1 million in-state pleasure trips.
Tammy Gustafson, chair, board of directors, Visit Florida said, Three years of record-breaking visitation and a record number of tourism-related jobs proves that tourism continues to be a vital force in Florida. It also proves that our industry is directly tied to Floridas economic growth. This means we cannot let go of our effort to continuously advance Florida tourism.
Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2013, representing a 5.9 per cent increase over the same period in 2012. For 2013, the average daily room (ADR) rate rose 4.6 per cent and the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 3.5 per cent compared to 2012. Both ADR and occupancy increased every month year-over-year in 2013.