In the first three-quarters of 2016, Florida welcomed 85 million visitors — with third-quarter figures of 26.9 million guests reflecting the state’s record-breaking 5.1 percent growth over the year and spurring praise from Gov. Rick Scott.
With so many visitors, the state’s travel-oriented jobs also benefited: its total of 1,241,300 positions signifying a jump of 4.1 percent over the year.
“I am proud to announce that Florida continues to set record breaking success by already welcoming 85 million visitors this year — the most visitors over the first nine months in our state’s history,” Scott said. “We are also at a record high of over 1.2 million Floridians employed in our tourism industry and on pace to reach our goal of 115 million tourists by the end of the year.”
The governor commended VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State’s official consumer web site and tourism-oriented organization. Officials estimated that the number of American visitors to Florida in 2016’s third quarter was 5.8 percent higher than the same time period in 2015. Additionally, current data for the year’s first three quarters indicates a 7 percent rise over last year.
“VISIT FLORIDA does an incredible job of marketing our state and keeping all of our tourism partners … informed,” said Scott, alluding to the professionalism of businesses of all sizes in taking steps to keep Florida’s visitors safe during major events such as illness, crime or natural disasters such as hurricanes. “Since I have been in office, we have more than doubled the funding for VISIT FLORIDA and these investments have helped bring more tourists to Florida and add more jobs for families in our state.”
The governor advocated continued investment in Florida’s tourism industry, to “keep breaking records and add even more jobs.”
William Talbert III, who chairs the VISIT FLORIDA board of directors, concurred.
“Florida has the best tourism product in the world and a team of really smart state and local marketers who, with the continued support of Gov. Scott and the Florida legislature, work together to find innovative ways to share that message with the world,” Talbert said.
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