TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 15, 2013) – According to preliminary estimates* released today by VISIT FLORIDA - the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – 26 million visitors came to Florida in the first quarter of 2013 (January-March), an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2012. This makes the first quarter of 2013 the biggest quarter for visitation in the history of Florida tourism.
“More people visited Florida this past quarter than ever before,” Governor Scott said. “Record visitation to the Sunshine State means more jobs and opportunities for Florida’s families, which is great news.”
Direct travel-related employment in Q1 2013 was also a record high, with 1,087,700 Floridians employed in the tourism industry. This figure represents a 3.4 percent increase, adding 35,700 jobs since this time one year ago.
“Every 85 visitors we welcome support one Florida job,” said Glenn Hastings, Chairman of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. “Florida’s hospitality industry added nearly 36,000 new career-building jobs this quarter alone, marking the 36th straight month of job growth for the tourism sector.”
As additional data continues to come in, VISIT FLORIDA has revised its preliminary 2012 visitation number to 91.4 million. This figure includes 77.6 million domestic visitors, 10.2 million overseas travelers and 3.6 million Canadians.
“Coming off of a record year that has proven to be even stronger than we initially estimated only adds to the momentum VISIT FLORIDA has been building on to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.
Additional Preliminary Data:
An estimated 21.8 million domestic visitors came to Florida during the first quarter of 2013, representing a 4 percent increase from the same period in 2012. Florida experienced a 3.9 percent increase in Canadian visitors at 1.5 million and an 11.3 percent increase in overseas visitors with 2.7 million in Q1 2013 compared to Q1 2012.Primary data collected at Florida’s 14 major airports in the first quarter of 2013 reflect a 1.2 percent increase in total enplanements from the same period in 2012. Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased year-over-year in January and February 2013 (last reported month), representing a 5.1 percent increase over the same period in 2012. The Average Daily Room Rate rose 6.8 percent to $136.45 and the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 2.3 percentage points to 74.1 percent in Q1 2013 compared to Q1 2012.
To view additional Florida visitor data, go the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website.
*Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report.
For additional information, contact Kathy Torian at ktorian@VISITFLORIDA.org or (850) 205-3865.
As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 91.4 million visitors in 2012 who spent $71.8 billion, generating 23 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue and employing more than one million Floridians. For every $1 spent on tourism marketing, VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – generates more than $258 in tourism spending and $15 in new sales tax collections, paid by visitors, not residents. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves nearly 12,000 tourism industry businesses, including 2,700 invested Partners, 8,900 web affiliates and major strategic alliance partnerships with Disney Destinations, Dollar Rent A Car, The Hertz Corporation, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Universal Orlando. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, please go to www.VISITFLORIDA.org or follow our corporate blog at www.SunshineMatters.org.