Florida Breaks Tourism Record for Fourth Year in a Row
On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott announced that according to estimates prepared by VisitFlorida, the state's tourism marketing arm, more than 97 million people visited the sunshine state this past year.
As the nation's economy continues its recovery after the Great Recession, this marks the fourth year in a row that Florida has had a record number of tourists come to the state.
While most of Florida’s guests were visiting from other parts of the United States, millions came from overseas and from Canada. VisitFlorida estimates that 11.5 million visitors were from overseas and 3.8 million tourists came from Canada.
In a statement Gov. Scott said, “We are excited to announce that Florida welcomed more than 97 million visitors in 2014, marking the fourth consecutive record year for tourism in the Sunshine State." He continued by saying, "Not only are visitors coming to our state at record levels, but there are also a record number of Floridians employed in our tourism industry.”
Since becoming governor in 2011, Scott has pushed to increase the amount of money spent on marketing and advertising by VisitFlorida. With 2014’s new tourism record, Scott is seeking an increase of $17.5 million, although it’s not clear if state legislators will go along with the request.
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater and chairman of the committee that oversees VisitFlorida's budget explained that although the tourism numbers have jumped within the last few years, another large boost in funding may not guarantee another large boost in visitors.
While Florida’s 2014 record year of 97.3 million tourists fell a bit short of Scott’s initial goal of 100 million, it surpassed 2013’s year of nearly 94 million visitors.
According to Scott, "Florida’s natural beauty, pristine beaches and exciting attractions continue to bring countless visitors to our state and provide valuable jobs for our families."