Florida welcomed record 105 million visitors in 2015: Governor Scott

Governor of Florida Rick Scott announced that the state has set another record in tourism by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015

By: FE Online | Published: February 22, 2016 6:21 PM

Rick ScottGovernor of Florida Rick Scott announced that the state has set another record in tourism by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015. This is the fifth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous figure of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 per cent. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in 2015 was also a record high, with 1,199,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 53,400 or 4.7 per cent over the same period last year.

Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Florida has surpassed our tourism goal and welcomed an historic 105 million visitors to our state in 2015. The number of travel-related jobs also reached a record high, with 1.2 million Floridians employed in the tourism industry. Tourism plays an important role in supporting our economy, and we will continue to make strategic investments in the tourism industry to keep Florida on track to becoming first for jobs. With five consecutive record years for tourism, it is time to set our goal even higher, and I look forward to welcoming 115 million visitors to the Sunshine State this year.”

VISIT FLORIDA estimated that a record 89.8 million domestic visitors travelled to Florida in 2015, reflecting an eight per cent increase over 2014. Estimates also show that 11.2 million overseas visitors and four million Canadians visited Florida last year. Total enplanements at 18 Florida airports during 2015 increased by 8.2 per cent over the previous year, representing a record 6.1 million more enplaned passengers than in 2014.

Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts said, “As home of the most popular theme park in the world, we are thrilled to contribute to the record number of visitors to Florida, and the jobs and economic opportunities that tourism helps to create.”

Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2015, representing an 8.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2014. For 2015, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.9 per cent and the number of rooms sold grew by 4.5 per cent compared to 2014. Florida’s average occupancy rate for 2015 was 72.0 per cent, an increase of 3.2 per cent over 2014. This represents a record year for the statewide calendar year occupancy rate, exceeding the previous high of 69.8 per cent in 2014.

John Tomlin, chairmain, VISIT FLORIDA said, “Achieving record visitation for five consecutive years, including reaching 105 million visitors in 2015, is a testament to the strong industry alignment between VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism partners. Thanks to the visionary support of Governor Scott and the Florida legislature, together we have built a solid foundation that will enable us to reach our goal of generating US$ 100 billion in visitor spending by 2020.”

For fourth quarter of 2015, preliminary estimates show a record 25.2 million people visited the state. This represents the largest fourth quarter visitation number Florida has ever seen and reflects an increase of 6.7 per cent over the same period in 2014. VISIT FLORIDA also reported that an estimated 2.9 million overseas visitors and 671,000 Canadians travelled to Florida in the fourth quarter of 2015.

George Aguel, President and CEO of Visit Orlando, said, “Visit Orlando is delighted that Governor Scott and VISIT FLORIDA have chosen Orlando to share this milestone tourism accomplishment for our state. This news aligns nicely with Orlando’s record visitation last year of over 62 million visitors and a prediction of another record year for 2015, ensuring our unique position as the most visited destination in the nation.

Mark Wilson, president and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce commented, “Congratulations to VISIT FLORIDA and Florida’s tourism industry for achieving a historic 105 million visitors to Florida in 2015. When visitors travel to Florida, they learn about our top ten school rankings, low crime rate, zero personal income tax, business-friendly climate and family-friendly brand, and often return to open a business and create jobs for Floridians. The Florida Chamber is proud to celebrate this milestone, and looks forward to making Florida even more competitive in the future.”

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