Sunshine State's Tourism Market Brighter Than Ever

Posted on August 7, 2013 – 15:16

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(Photo: A Syed)

March 6, 2012 | 11:15 AM ECONOMY March 6, 2012 | 11:15 AM

  • Record 85.9 million visitors came to Florida last year
  • Florida tourism continues to outpace rest of US
  • Florida hotel room occupancy rates up 7% so far in 2012

Florida's tourism marketing arm Visit Florida reports that regional tourism reached record highs in 2011, logging more visitors than ever: The "Sunshine State" lured 85.9 million travelers last year, exceeding the previous high of 84.5 million in 2007.

There were increases in travel from across the board, including US residents from in-state, from out of Florida and a jarring jump in oversea visitors. Chris Thompson, the agency's president and chief executive, pointed out that these visitors came despite what he called "challenging economic times."

"Given the incredibly competitive global tourism marketplace, it is noteworthy that Florida's market share has continued to outpace the rest of the US, " he said.

The Toronto Star headlined the event saying "Florida Still Tourism King, " pointing out that no destination came close to Florida's boom in tourism, which was 65% higher than the entirety of what Mexico expects next year.

Florida's market is also "70% higher than New York's record year. It's more than eight times Toronto's own record, and 25 times the number of people who visited Israel last year, " wrote the Star.

How did Florida do it despite what has been termed the "Great Recession, " hurricanes and the BP oil spill that devastated Florida's panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico?

Legoland Spurs Tourism

One factor in the mix was the October debut of Legoland in Winter Haven in Central Florida, an easy drive from Walt Disney World. The popular attraction reached capacity for the first time right after last Christmas.

"In addition to attracting Central Florida residents, Legoland is seeing strong interest from foreign travelers due to the popularity of the Lego brand and Legoland parks overseas, " wrote the

But an even more important factor was the improving economy. "With the economy getting better domestically and some very strong performances in South America - particularly in Brazil - it's really pushing tourism, " said Robertico Croes, who is interim chair for UCF's Rosen College's tourism and attractions department.

Overseas visitors are important because they tend to take longer trips and spend more while on vacation than domestic travelers, Croes told the Lakeland Ledger.

The number of overseas visitors in Florida jumped over 16% last year, while Canadian tourism grew 5.7%.

The state's tourism industry appears to be recovering faster than the nation as a whole. Hotel rooms sold in the state for the first few months of the year are up 7% from a year ago, while the overall US rate is up 5.3%.

One caveat tourism officials are watching closely: gas prices. If the rise continues this summer, tourism officials fear, drive-in tourism could be impacted.

Key Statistics - Tourism in Florida (source: VISIT FLORIDA)

  • Florida's visitors were 70% higher than New York's own record year or eight times Toronto's own visitor record.
  • The number of overseas visitors in Florida jumped over 16% last year, while Canadian tourism grew 5.7%.
  • Hotel rooms sold in the state for the first few months of the year are up 7% from a year ago, while the overall US rate is up 5.3%.


Pelican Publishing Florida Almanac: 2012
Book (Pelican Publishing)

Not to make light of this, but where are the

2005-06-25 16:02:31 by shark_bans

Fla. Shark Attack Kills 14-Year-Old Girl
SANDESTIN, Fla. - A 14-year-old girl died Saturday after a shark attacked her while she and a companion were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, authorities said.
The teenagers were swimming on boogie boards about 100 yards offshore when they noticed a dark shadow in the water, authorities said. The other swimmer was not injured, Walton C...ry often at all — very, very seldom," said Mike McKee, front desk supervisor at the nearby Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort and Spa.
Florida had the largest number of documented shark attacks worldwide in 2003 with 30, according to statistics compiled by the American Elasmobranch Society and the Florida Museum of Natural History. There were 12 attacks off the coast of Florida last year.

Get information to swing states/the Midwest

2004-10-18 07:52:40 by artgirlxxx

Craigslist can travel far and influence people! Post war statistics on Craigslist in Ohio, Florida etc!! There isn't much time left to the election.


2009-12-21 11:19:13 by seaaggie

HORRIBLE piece of legislation, based on falsehoods and skewed statistics. Looks to ban many species of pythons from interstate travel...etc. based on sensationalism of the Florida python problem.
Here's a link to a good flyer to put up regarding the ban (anti- of course)

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  • Avatar kdany2002 Can somebody help me with the investigation into the state of Florida in the USA?
    Sep 08, 2007 by kdany2002 | Posted in Special Education

    What makes Florida popular and the factors that have contributed to its rising popularity as a holiday destination?
    How does Florida sustain tourism?
    The factors that have resulted in Florida becoming a popular holiday destination can be supported using examples and statistisques.

    • Florida can offer something for everyone. It has a huge coastline of beautiful and accessible beaches. The east coast usually attracts a younger crowd while it's west coast attracts a middle age to older crowd. There are …of the Disney theme parks, and the Miami's South beach and night life. Although Florida is becoming overdeveloped there is still much natural beauty to be found. Florida does not sustain tourism, tourism sustains Florida.