CLEARWATER, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott announced today an increase in the number of tourists and number of tourism jobs in 2016’s first quarter.
Florida drew the most visitors during the first quarter of any year with 29.8 million tourists, according to a news release. This is an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period last year and exceeds the previous high of 28.5 million in the first quarter of 2015.
The average number of direct travel-related jobs in the first quarter of 2016 was also a record, with 1,231,100 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 3.8 percent from the same period in 2015.
“I’m thrilled that Florida continues to break records in the amount of tourists visiting our state,” Scott said. “Nearly 30 million visitors have enjoyed our beautiful beaches and attractions so far this year, and a record high of more than 1.2 million Floridians are employed in the tourism industry – which is great news.”
Scott said Florida exceeded its goal of 105 million visitors in all of 2015 and he aims to get that number up to 115 million by the end of 2016.
“Given the challenges our industry is facing – the strong dollar’s impact on Canada and issues in Brazil – this record quarter for Florida tourism is even more exciting,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of Visit Florida. “Our strategy of showcasing both the familiar and off-the-beaten-path travel opportunities remind potential visitors that, while Florida is filled with destinations they know and can trust, there is always more to discover.”
Visit Florida estimates that a record 25.6 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in the first quarter of 2016, which is a 6.6 percent increase over the same period last year. About 22.3 million people boarded planes at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q1 2016, an increase of 1.5 million or 7.0 percent from over the same period last year.
To view additional Florida visitor data, go to the Research page on Visit Florida’s media website.