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. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works


    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  2. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach


    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  3. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  5. As St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit broadens its business, it shrinks its name to Jabil


    St. Petersburg's Fortune 500 company, Jabil Circuit, informally tossed aside the "Circuit" in its name some time ago. That's because circuit board manufacturing, the company's core business for decades, has been squeezed out by a broader business agenda ranging from consumer packaging to supply chain management.

    Jabil Circuit informally dropped "Circuit" from its marketing material and signage, like at its St. Petersburg headquarters, years ago. Now it's official.
[Times file photo]