Make us your home page

Florida sets new tourism record

TAMPA — To the backdrop of screaming tourists on Busch Gardens' Cheetah Hunt roller coaster, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday said 22.9 million visitors came to Florida between July and September, a third-quarter record for the state.

He also set a goal of reaching 100 million visitors in 2013, up from the 95 million expected this year.

"We want Florida to be the No. 1 tourism destination in the world,'' he said, during an appearance outside the Crown Colony House at Busch Gardens, Tampa's top tourist destination.

The quarterly numbers, the latest in a string of records set as tourists continue to flock to Florida, represent a 1.7 percent increase over the same period a year ago.

Tourist spending in Florida reached $51.8 billion between January and August compared with $49 billion in 2012. Tourism-related jobs in those eight months rose 2.8 percent, adding 29,700 jobs since this same period a year ago.

Scott, who as governor has focused on job creation, said every 85 visitors supports one job. He gave Jim Dean, president of Busch Gardens, a Governor's Business Ambassador Award for creating jobs.

Based on the record tourism figures, the Florida Retail Federation on Friday changed its holiday shopping forecast to reflect an expected 3.5 to 4.5 percent sales increase this year over last year. Prior to Scott's announcement, the expected sales increase was 3 to 4 percent.

Florida sets new tourism record 11/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 15, 2013 10:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home


    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  4. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  5. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion


    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]