Florida sees increased number of visitors during second quarter

Amtrak at Winter Park, Fla.
An Amtrak train pulls into Winter Park, Fla. (Photo by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012)

Florida continues to be a popular destination for tourists.

During the second quarter of 2012, 22.1 million people visited The Sunshine State. That represents a 1.3 percent increase over the same period in 2011.

“It’s encouraging to see continued growth in the state’s top industry,” said Governor Rick Scott. “With more growth comes more jobs, and as a leading driver of our rebounding economy, VISIT FLORIDA and the entire Florida tourism industry are poised to make the Sunshine State the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”

The state also reported $31.5 billion in tourism and recreation taxable sales between January and May 2012. That represents an 8.8 percent increase over the same period in 2011.

The average daily room rate rose 3.6 percent and the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 2 percentage points in the second quarter compared to a year earlier.

“These are very positive indicators for Florida tourism and the state as a whole,” said Glenn Hastings, chairman of the Visit Florida Board of Directors and Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, said in a news release. “Increased visitation and spending by travelers to the state have fueled 27 straight months of job growth. More than one million Floridians are now employed in the tourism industry – a number we are proud to see steadily increasing as Florida is on pace for another record year.”

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