Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.