Published on : Monday, August 22, 2016
During a press conference at the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers this afternoon, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming the highest amount of visitors of any six months in the state’s history with 57.4 million visitors.
This record amount of out-of-state and international visitors represents a 4.3 percent increase over the previous year. In the second quarter of 2016 (April -June), 27.3 million visitors came to the state, an increase of 3.1 percent over the same period in 2015. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in quarter two of 2016 was also a record high, with 1,255,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 4.3 percent year over year.
Governor Scott said, “Today, I am proud to announce that Florida has continued our record breaking success and welcomed the most visitors in Florida’s history over the first six months of the year. It’s exciting that we are starting the first half of 2016 off with back to back record quarters which puts us on pace to reach our goal of 115 million tourists this year and $100 billion in visitor spending by 2020. In Florida, the health and safety of our visitors is a top priority and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors to the Sunshine State this year.”
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 23.6 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in the second quarter of 2016, reflecting a 4.6 percent increase over the same period last year. Estimates also show that 2.6 million overseas visitors and 1.1 million Canadians came to Florida in quarter two of 2016, reflecting 5.5 percent and 5.1 percent decreases respectively over the same period last year. Preliminary figures for the first half of 2016 show 49.4 million domestic visitors (up 6.0%), 5.3 million overseas visitors (down 5.6%) and 2.7 million Canadians (down 3.5%) have come to the Sunshine State.
William D. Talbert, III, CDME, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, said “The success of Florida tourism is directly attributable to the strong alignment between VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism industry Partners, and their continued investment in strengthening the state’s incredible tourism product.”
Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased 6.1 percent year over year for January through April 2016 (last reported month). For quarter two of 2016, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 1.4 percent, the demand in rooms sold grew 1.1 percent and the hotel occupancy rate was down 0.3 percent compared to quarter two of 2015.
The Florida tourism industry has a tremendous amount of momentum because every month we have millions of new visitors who are experiencing the best tourism product on earth and returning home to share their Florida memories with friends and family.