Tourism to the Sunshine State continues to thrive with Visit Florida preliminary estimates showing 23.7 million visitors came to Florida in the third quarter of 2014 (July-September), an increase of 3.5% 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 Governor Rick Scott commented, “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.”
Through the first three quarters of 2014, Visit Florida estimates that it has welcomed 73.9 million visitors – an increase of 2.5% over the same period last year. Visitor spending in Florida for January-August 2014 (last reported month) was US$55.6 billion, representing a year-over-year increase of 7.3% from the same period in 2013.
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% and 1.8% increases over Q3 2013 respectively.
“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% jump over the same period last year.