According to preliminary estimates from Florida’s destination marketing organization, VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State hosted 23.4 million visitors during the second quarter, up 2.6 percent from the same period last year and the largest second quarter for visitation in the state’s history, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced this month.
“Florida’s tourism industry is critical to Florida families, as it serves as a vital source of revenue to the state and a key driver of employment,” Scott said in a statement. “Florida just experienced its largest second quarter visitation ever; combined with a record first quarter, the Sunshine State is now on pace to generate an unprecedented number of jobs and economic opportunities for Florida’s families.”
With the first and second quarter combined, Florida welcomed 49.6 million visitors during the first half of 2013, up 4.2 percent from the first half of 2012. Spending by said visitors also was up year-over-year, rising 5.5 percent to $33.2 billion, as was travel-related employment, which increased by 2.8 percent, or 30,200 jobs.
“We’re up nearly 2 million visitors who increased their spending by more than $1.7 billion,” said Tammy Gustafson, chair of the VISIT FLORIDA board. “This continued momentum is a testament to the strength of VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts, the power of the Sunshine State brand and the dedication of the nearly 1.1 million Floridians who work in the state’s tourism industry.”
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