According to preliminary estimates by Visit Florida, the state saw approximately 24 million visitors in the second quarter of 2014, representing a three per cent increase over the same period in 2013.
The findings, announced this week by Gov. Rick Scott, represent Florida’s largest second quarter for visitation, exceeding the previous high of 23.3 million in 2013. Visitor spending is up 7.4 per cent in January through May 2014, at $35.7 billion, which is more than the same time period in 2013, said a Visit Florida statement.
Of those 24 million visitors, Visit Florida estimates that 2.8 million overseas visitors and one million Canadians came to the state, both of which are record highs and represent 6.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent increases over Q2 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 2.6 per cent increase in American visitors to Florida in Q2 2014 and show that Floridians took just over 3.7 million in-state pleasure trips during the second quarter.
The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q2 2014 was also a record high, with 1,151,400 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – an increase of 3.9 per cent or 43,600 jobs from the same period in 2013.Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida grew year-over-year for January-May 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.4 per cent increase over the same period in 2013. Bed Tax also increased year-over-year for January-April 2014 (last reported month), representing a 10.1 per cent jump over the same period last year. Other indicators were up for Q2 2014 as well, with the average daily room rate (ADR) rising seven per cent, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increasing 4.8 per cent and the demand in rooms sold growing 5.5 per cent compared to quarter two 2013.