Florida tourism posts another gain

1:08 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - Florida's tourism industry records another increase in visitors and now it employs more than one million Floridians.

The number of visitors this summer was up three percent compared to the third quarter last year.

Nearly 22 million people traveled to the Sunshine State between July and September.

They're spending a lot of money too. Visitors have spent nearly $50 billion so far this year. That's up seven percent from the same period last year.

The state's marketing agency Visit Florida says tourism created 15,000 jobs in the third quarter.

Acting President and CEO Will Seccombe says the one million Floridians employed by hospitality businesses are delivering great service and that makes a difference.

"We have a culture that is built on providing exceptional experiences for travelers and I think when times are tight people want to go to a place where they know they're going to be treated well and the Sunshine State does that."

Seccombe says Florida is seeing balanced growth in all sectors of the tourism industry. About 19 million domestic travelers vacationed here - up three percent from the same period last year, the number of overseas visitors was up 5.5 percent and the state welcomed four percent more Canadian travelers.

Seccombe says the strong Florida brand and new investment in tourism-related businesses are helping the industry.

"We deliver on the experience. It's not just marketing that drives visitation. It's actually the product that we have around the state, continued reinvestment in the product and you look around the state and new hotels being built, new attractions being built at all of our major theme parks. New attractions being built at smaller attractions as well. New additions to the entire Florida tourism product."

Florida is on pace to break last year's record of 87 million visitors.

Dave Heller

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