By: Matt Horn
An improving economic climate nationwide is good news for Florida. That’s because a record number of people are checking out Florida’s attractions. “We try to get here as much as we can,” said tourist Cleveland Wrighty.
Visitors are spending billions of dollars, helping revive the states economy. “There is no secret the Florida tourism industry is experiencing some incredible momentum,” said VISIT FLORIDA President & CEO, Will Seccombe.
Coming off of two record years, the first three months of 2013 have seen an almost 5 % increase. Last year: 21.8 million tourists have already visited the state this year. “That momentum is pretty hard to stop,” said Seccombe.
Travelers we talked with say they have been coming to Florida more frequently. “Once a year, twice a year. Something like that,” said Seguin, Texas resident, Ronald Miller.
Last year just over 91 million people visited the Sunshine State, up 2.3 %. With an increase in tourism, it equals more jobs, because every 85 visitors support one Florida job. “(It’s a) huge impact to jobs,” said Seccombe. “We had an additional 35,000 people employed in the hospitality industry.”
Those jobs all created in the first quarter of this year, marking the 36th month of job growth in the tourism industry. It’s a trend likely to continue as people continue to visit. I like Florida, its where I plan to retire,” said Miller.
The number of international visitors is increasing even faster than domestic tourists with an increase of 11.3 % increase.