Saturday, November 21, 2015

Florida Tourism Breaks Record In 3rd Quarter

Tourists visiting a beach in Florida

Florida's tourism numbers broke a record in the third quarter of 2015 (July - September). Tourism increased 6.8% when compared to the third quarter of 2014 with 25.5 million visitors coming to the the Sunshine State - the largest third quarter for visitation ever.  

Lower gas prices have fueled record-breaking domestic travel to Florida. VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 22.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in the third quarter of 2015, reflecting an 8.2% increase over the same period last year.  This increase in domestic visitors more than offset a 1.8% decline in overseas visitors and a 1.4% decline in Canadian visitors who have been impacted by a stronger U.S. dollar. Preliminary figures for the first three quarters of 2015 show 67.4 million domestic visitors, 8.3 million overseas visitors and 3.4 million Canadians have come to the Sunshine State.

Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased year-over-year for January through August 2015 (last reported month), representing an 8.2% increase over the same period in 2014.  For quarter three of 2015, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.1%, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 3.6% and the demand in rooms sold grew 4.8% compared to quarter three of 2014.

Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “With three record quarters and a fifth consecutive record year on the horizon, it’s clear that this continued growth does not happen by accident.  It’s the direct result of a global marketing strategy focused on maximizing the economic impact of Florida tourism.”

The average number of direct travel-related jobs in quarter three was also a record high, with 1,195,400 Floridians employed in the tourism industry - up 5.2% over the same period last year.

“I am proud to announce that the Sunshine State continued our record-breaking success and welcomed the most visitors in Florida’s history over the first three quarters of the year," Governor Scott said. "Our growing tourism industry employs 1.2 million Floridians and is helping us meet our goal of becoming first for jobs. We look forward to more than 100 million tourists visiting Florida this year.”