Gov. Scott: Florida Sets All-Time Tourism Record in First Half of 2017

TAMPA, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record by welcoming the highest number of visitors of any six months in the state’s history with 60.7 million visitors, according to VISIT FLORIDA. This represents a 4.1 percent increase over the same period in 2016, and includes 53.2 million domestic visitors, 5.3 million overseas visitors and 2.2 million Canadian visitors.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce today that Florida has continued its record breaking success by welcoming more than 60 million visitors to our state over the first half of 2017- the highest number of visitors of any six months in our state’s history. This means back-to-back record quarters for our state. Now, with the investments made in VISIT FLORIDA during this year’s Special Legislative Session, we can continue to break records and work toward our goal of 120 million visitors this year. Florida’s booming tourism industry supports 1.4 million jobs across the state, and I know that VISIT FLORIDA and their many local partners are continuing to focus on breaking more records in order to help create even more opportunities for our families.”

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 29.9 million visitors traveled to Florida in the second quarter of 2017 (April-June), an increase of 6.8 percent over the same period last year. This Q2 number breaks down to 26.4 million domestic visitors, 2.6 million overseas visitors and 899,000 Canadians coming to Florida. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q2 2017 increased 6.1 percent over the same period the previous year, with a record 22.8 million enplaned passengers. The number of hotel rooms sold in Florida during quarter two of 2017 grew by 4.2 percent compared to quarter two 2016. During the same period, Florida’s average daily room rate (ADR) increased by 4.0 percent and occupancy by 2.5 percent.

Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “With more than 60 million visitors to the state so far this year, this is an exciting and historic time for the Florida tourism industry. VISIT FLORIDA is committed to continuing to create cutting-edge marketing programs for our industry partners of all sizes that showcase the state to visitors and help make Florida the number one vacation destination in the world.”

The Florida Aquarium President and CEO Roger Germann said, “I am proud to join Governor Scott for this exciting announcement today. Our team at The Florida Aquarium welcomes hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay residents and guests from around the world every year, and we are incredibly proud of our economic and educational impact in the community and our state. I look forward to working with Governor Scott, VISIT FLORIDA and our partners across the state to continue Florida’s thriving tourism industry and create even more opportunities at The Florida Aquarium.”

The Florida Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Scott Rose said, “The news that Florida tourism has had another record quarter and the biggest six months in our history is no surprise to me. Florida is an incredible state with so many things to see and experience, especially right here in Tampa Bay, including The Florida Aquarium. Our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA contributes significantly to our success and we look forward to continuing to work with them to share our mission and vision with others.”

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association President and CEO Carol Dover said, “Florida continues to set record tourism numbers, which supports our economy and the 1.4 million industry jobs across the state. As ambassadors of Florida’s tourism industry, we will continue to work diligently to attract even more visitors to enjoy our incredible state. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is proud to be a champion of the tourism industry and honored to share Florida’s world-renowned hospitality with residents and visitors alike.”

Mise en Place President and CEO Maryann Ferenc said, “Six consecutive years of record visitation and now two more record quarters to start off the year do not happen by accident. It’s the result of really smart marketing by VISIT FLORIDA and the entire Florida tourism industry. Now is the time for all of us – big, small, public, private, DMO, commercial entity – to work together so that we can achieve our goal of 120 million visitors this year and make Florida the number one travel destination in the world.”

Madame Tussauds Orlando Senior Trade Sales Manager and Board Chair of the Florida Attractions Association Nick Romeo said, “With another quarter of record visitation numbers, it’s clear to see why Florida is a top worldwide destination. Florida’s world-class attractions play an important role in bringing people here, and we are working every day to market ourselves more aggressively. We look forward to continuing to work with VISIT FLORIDA to set more records and make Florida the number one global destination.”

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.