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Early numbers show Florida tourism continuing to grow

Posted at 10:32 AM, Aug 14, 2013
and last updated 2014-07-14 12:14:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- New numbers out show more people are visiting Florida's beaches, theme parks, and attractions than ever before.

Governor Rick Scott's office announced Wednesday that VISIT FLORIDA, the state official marketing group, reported 23.4 million visitors from April to June 2013. That is a 2.6 percent increase form the year before making this is the largest second quarter for visitation in state history.

Overall in the first half of the year, 49.6 million people have visited Florida, spending more than $33.2 billion.

VISIT FLORIDA is also reporting that direct travel-related employment in Florida for January through June is up 2.8 percent, adding 30,200 jobs since the same time a year ago.

"Today's news from VISIT FLORIDA demonstrates 'It's Working.' Florida's tourism industry is critical to Florida families as it serves as a vital source of revenue to the state and a key driver of employment," Governor Scott said. "Florida just experienced its largest second quarter visitation ever, combined with a record first quarter, the Sunshine State is now on pace to generate an unprecedented number of jobs and economic opportunities for Florida's families."

The state is also seeing a growing number of international travelers. 2.7 million overseas visitors came to the Sunshine State in the second quarter, up 9.3 percent, in addition to 1 million Canadian visitors.

"Following up two consecutive record years with back to back record quarters so far in 2013 proves we are well-positioned to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world," said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.