TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that according to VISIT FLORIDA’s preliminary estimates* 24.0 million visitors came to Florida in the second quarter of 2014 (April-June), an increase of 3.0 percent over the same period in 2013. This represents the largest second quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 23.3 million in Q2 2013. Visitor spending is up 7.4 percent in January through May 2014, at $35.7 billion, which is more than the same time period in 2013.
Governor Scott said, “A thriving tourism industry is vital to growing jobs, and today’s report that Florida has experienced another record quarter for visitation is great news for Florida families. This year we invested $74 million into VISIT FLORIDA, and set a goal to have 100 million visitors visit the Sunshine State, which we are well on our way to reaching. Together we are creating an opportunity economy, and continuing to grow more jobs for Floridians with more than 1.1 million individuals employed in the growing tourism industry.”
The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q2 2014 was also a record high, with 1,151,400 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – an increase of 3.9 percent or 43,600 jobs from the same period in 2013.
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 2.8 million overseas visitors and 1.0 million Canadians came to Florida in Q2 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 6.2 percent and 1.6 percent increases over Q2 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 2.6 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in Q2 2014 and show that Floridians took just over 3.7 million in-state pleasure trips during the second quarter.
“Experiencing the largest second quarter for tourism in our state’s history, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, proves that this industry continues to be a vital force in Florida,” said Andrew Hertz, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “These records also emphasize the power of tourism as a way to sustain Florida’s economic growth.”
Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida grew year-over-year for January-May 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.4 percent increase over the same period in 2013. Bed Tax also increased year-over-year for January-April 2014 (last reported month), representing a 10.1 percent jump over the same period last year. Other indicators were up for Q2 2014 as well, with the average daily room rate (ADR) rising 7.0 percent, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increasing 4.8 percent and the demand in rooms sold growing 5.5 percent compared to quarter two 2013.
“Florida tourism is maintaining strong momentum with all indicators up across the board for the quarter,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “With occupancy, rooms sold, average daily room rate and tourism and recreation taxable sales all continuing to climb, we are well on our way to making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”
To view additional Florida visitor data, please go to 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.