By: Emily Johnson
March 23, 2014
Wakulla County, FL - "We've been to Orlando and New Smyrna Beach, Pensacola so we've been to many places down here," said Georgina Limbl, a Florida tourist.
Out of all the places Limbl has visited in Florida it was Panacea this time around for her vacation. Limbl is from southeast Minnesota and wanted to come South to get away from the cold weather. After hitting the beaches and shopping with her family, Sunday was a chance for them to enjoy some daiquiris.
"Just because we wanted to have a break from the cold up there and get in some warm weather and visit family," said Limbl.
Data released by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association states that the VISIT FLORIDA marketing program is bringing in more tourists like the Limbl family. The numbers compare hotel occupancy rates for 2010 - 2013. It shows Florida is consistently leading the nation.
2010/United States Occupancy Rate: 57.6%
2010/Florida Occupancy Rate: 59.1%
2011/United States Occupancy Rate: 60.1%
2011/Florida Occupancy Rate: 62.9%
2012/United States Occupancy Rate: 61.4%
2012/Florida Occupancy Rate: 64.8%
2013/United States Occupancy Rate: 62.3%
2013/Florida Occupancy Rate: 67.0%
Angelo Petrandis who owns Angelo & Son's Seafood Restaurant said they've seen an increase in out-of-state customers in the recent years.
"Things are looking up for us, they really are. We're catching a lot of fresh seafood and people are liking it, they're coming to it," said Angelo Petrandis.
Angelo's said they're thankful for the VISIT FLORIDA marketing campaign, but said they would like to see more money invested in Coastal Highway 98.
"Getting people to come to 98 instead of going through Sopchoppy and then going the other routes. Really staying on the coastline, a lot of the businesses that are on this route that are really starving and need to see people," said Yasmin Petrandis, Angelo & Son's Seafood Restaurant.
Recently Tallahassee saw more than 400 industry leaders from around the state visit with House and Senate members to continue to support the VISIT FLORIDA marketing program.