Florida Governor Rick Scott (pictured) reports that according to preliminary estimates released by VISIT FLORIDA, 26.7 million visitors came to Florida in the first quarter of 2014 (January-March), an increase of 2% over the same period in 2013.
This represents the largest quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 26.2 million in Q1 2013. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q1 2014 was also a record high, with 1,125,300 Floridians employed in the tourism industry — up 3.5% from the same period in 2013.
Governor Scott said, “Today’s news that we have another record quarter for visitation is great for Florida families. A growing tourism industry is vital to growing jobs in Florida, and creating an opportunity economy. We are off to a great start to reaching our goal of 100 million visitors to Florida this year.”
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.5 million Canadians came to Florida in Q1 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 1.8% and 1.6% increases over Q1 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 2% increase in domestic visitors to Florida in Q1 2014 and show that Floridians took just over 4.2 million in-state pleasure trips during the first quarter.
“Experiencing the largest quarter for tourism in our state’s history, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, proves that tourism continues to be a vital force in Florida,” said Tammy Gustafson, chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “These records also emphasize the power of tourism as a way to sustain Florida’s economic growth.”
“Florida tourism is maintaining strong momentum with all indicators up across the board for the quarter,” said Will Seccombe, president and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “With occupancy, rooms sold, average daily room rate and tourism and recreation taxable sales all continuing to climb, we are well on our way to making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”