Tallahassee, FL - Preliminary estimates* of visitors to Florida for the third quarter of 2010 (July-September), released by VISIT FLORIDA®, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, show an estimated 18.9 million travelers visited the Sunshine State. This represents an increase of 0.6 percent from the same period in 2009.
“Nearly 19 million visitors came to the Sunshine State this summer, despite significant challenges stemming from the Gulf oil spill and a down economy,” said Ed Fouche, Chairman of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Senior Vice President – Travel Industry Sales for Disney Destinations. “These results continue to prove the resilience of Florida’s tourism brand and spotlight the importance of this vital industry to the state’s rebounding economy.”
Overseas visitors to Florida increased by 17.4 percent and Canadian visitors increased by 23 percent, compared to the same period in 2009. However, domestic visitation to Florida was estimated to have decreased by 1.6 percent from third quarter 2009. Also up for the third quarter of 2010, total enplanements at Florida’s 14 major airports rose by 3.8 percent, the Average Daily Room Rate rose by 1.2 percent, monthly hotel occupancy rates were up 5.1 percent and Florida’s tourism-related employment reflected a 0.8 percent increase when compared to the same period of 2009.
“Given what the tourism industry faced this summer, it’s not surprising to see that the domestic visitation numbers are down slightly,” said Chris Thompson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “I am very encouraged by the continued strength of our overseas and Canadian markets, as well as the increase in the number of Floridians employed in tourism. It’s truly a testament to the hard work and dedication of our industry.”
*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.