Gov. Scott: Florida’s Tourism Industry Booming, Achieves Highest Quarter Ever

On June 5, 2018, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida welcomed an all-time record 33.2 million visitors to the Sunshine State in the first quarter of 2018. This represents an increase of 7.4 percent over the same period in 2017 and is the largest quarter for visitation in Florida history.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Florida set an all-time record by welcoming over 33 million visitors to our state during the first quarter of 2018. This historic tourism number represents a 7.4 percent increase over last year and demonstrates the momentum that our state has built. Since December 2010, Florida has created more than 1.5 million jobs, and a large part of this growth is because of the incredible success of our state’s tourism industry. I appreciate the team at VISIT FLORIDA and their help making these historic numbers possible.”

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 29.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q1 2018, an 8.5 percent increase in domestic visitors over the same period last year. Following efforts by VISIT FLORIDA and Governor Scott to better market Florida visitation in Canada, 1.4 million Canadians came to Florida in Q1 2018, an increase of 2.5 percent from Q1 2017, continuing Florida’s strong growth of 4 percent in calendar year 2017. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q1 2018 increased 7.6 percent over the same period the previous year, with Orlando International Airport reporting the most enplaned passengers at nearly 6 million. Of total enplanements, 80.1 percent were domestic, up 1.4 million compared to Q1 of last year. The number of rooms sold and the hotel occupancy rate in Q1 2018 also grew by 3.3 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “This record setting quarter of 33.2 million visitors to our state, the largest quarter in our state’s history, shows that VISIT FLORIDA is marketing our state like never before. With the help of our 12,000 industry partners, we saw a historic 7.4 percent increase over last year, which is fantastic news. We will continue developing more innovative and cutting-edge marketing programs to build on this success across the country and across the world. I am very proud of our team’s efforts as we continue to market Florida as the number one global destination.”


To view additional Florida visitor data, go the research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website.

Record 116.5 Million Visitors to Florida in 2017


Did you know that according to new numbers released today, Florida has reached another record-breaking year for Florida tourism? In 2017, 116.5 million visitors came to Florida, an increase of 3.6 percent of visitors in 2016, according to recently released numbers by VISIT FLORIDA.

When visitors come to Florida, they help create jobs and contribute billions of dollars in state and local taxes. In fact, every 85 visitors supports one job in Florida. Visitors to Florida also create jobs for the tourism and hospitality industry and leave Florida having paid more than $11 billion in state and local taxes.

Tourism is Key to Florida’s Competitiveness

How will the future of work impact this industry? What skills are businesses looking for in their workforce to allow them to continue to create jobs and economic opportunity? Join the conversation at the 2018 Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, where business leaders from around the state will discuss the future of work, skills and what Florida needs to get right for 2030 and beyond.

Florida’s Record Breaking Tourism Creates Economic Opportunity

According to tourism numbers released today, Florida welcomed 112.8 million visitors from other states and other countries in 2016.

As the third largest state in the nation, how does tourism impact Florida’s long-term future?

When visitors come to Florida, they help create jobs and pay $6 billion in state taxes and $5.3 billion in local taxes. Sales and other taxes paid by visitors help keep Floridians from having to pay an income tax. In fact, visitors to Florida pay in taxes the equivalent of $1,535 per Florida household.

Tourism in Florida not only helps create jobs, but also allows Floridians in those jobs to acquire employability skills.

In the Florida Chamber Foundation’s latest Cornerstone research project, Florida Jobs 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation interviewed more than 90 stakeholders from Florida’s business, education, nonprofit and workforce communities to analyze 21st-century jobs and the skills required to perform them. Research from Florida Jobs 2030 found businesses in Florida and around the nation need workers who are trained in employability skills— soft skills like critical thinking, communications and problem solving that are crucial to both employees and employers.

Jobs in Florida’s hospitality industry help Floridians gain these high-demand employability skills, which can benefit all Florida companies.

Learn More

  •, Florida’s leading metric database, tracks visitors and visitor spending in Florida and hundreds of other metrics that show the current state of Florida. Click here to learn more.
  • Click here to download and share Florida Jobs 2030. Share your comments and feedback with us at

Did You Know 105 Million Visitors Came to Florida Last Year?

Florida hosted a record-breaking 105 million visitors in 2015, according to recently-released data from VISIT FLORIDA. Domestic tourism increased by 8 percent for a total of 85 percent of the state’s visitor count. Tourism is Florida’s largest economic driver, accounting for nearly 1.2 million jobs in tourism-related employment and $89.1 billion in tourism spending. Sales tax paid by visitors contributed $5.3 billion in tax revenue, fueling the state’s growth and providing jobs for Florida families.

Governor Rick Scott announced today that 2016 is expected to be an even stronger year for tourism, with record-breaking Quarter 1 data exceeding 2015 figures by 4.8 percent. With the number of visitors expected to rise to 159 million by 2025, what is your business and your community doing to support this vital sector?

Get Involved:

To learn more about tourism and the other factors that will drive Florida’s economy in 2030, join us at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum on September 28-30, in Orlando.

Did You Know Florida is Expected to Surpass 100 Million Visitors for the Year?

Florida has experienced record-breaking tourism numbers over the past five years and 2015 was no exception. When the final numbers are released in February, Florida is on track to surpass 100 million visitors for the year.

Tourism plays a vital role in Florida’s economy. As referenced in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent report Creating Florida Jobs Through Marketing, every 85 visitors to Florida creates one hospitality job and a $3.20 return on investment for every dollar spent on tourism marketing.

VISIT FLORIDA Infographic_572

Get Involved

Join us in celebrating Florida Tourism Day on January 20, as we recognize our partners at VISIT FLORIDA and others in The Partnership for Florida Tourism for their role in driving Florida tourism.

Did You Know: In 2014 More Than 97 Million Visitors Came to Florida

Florida has seen four years in a row of record tourism as millions of visitors come to enjoy our beaches, attractions and Florida’s hospitality.

Did you know:

  • Last year an estimated 97.3 million visitors from throughout the U.S. and other countries came to Florida.
  • These record breaking numbers include 11.5 million visitors from overseas and 3.8 million Canadian visitors, representing more than 10 percent of the estimated 35.5 million Canadian residents.

Increased investments in tourism marketing have led to substantial increases in overseas visitors, who stay longer and spend more in Florida than domestic visitors. Many international visitors also shop while they are in our state, spending substantial amounts on taxable goods. A recent study by the Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) office of the Florida legislature estimated that tourists paid 12.5 percent of General Revenue from Sales Taxes in the most recent fiscal year.


Chart Source: Return on Investment for VISIT FLORIDA. Office of Economic and Demographic Research. January 1, 2015.

The economic impact of tourists can’t be denied. Every 85 visitors to Florida creates one Florida hospitality job. Additional indirect and induced jobs are also created. For every 1,000 jobs created, only 507 of those are in traditional tourism sectors-the other 493 jobs are created in categories such as retail trade, administrative services, construction, transportation and warehousing. The estimated average salary of those jobs is $43,750.

“Florida’s investments in marketing are matched at nearly two-to-one with private-sector funds,” said Will Seccombe, CEO of VISITFLORIDA. “This successful combination creates jobs in many sectors of the Florida economy and provides substantial increases in tax revenues for our state”.

The estimated return on investment for VISITFLORIDA’s marketing was estimated by EDR to be 3.2 dollars for every state dollar invested. This means that for every public dollar spent on tourism marketing, $3.20 was returned to the state in the form of tax collection. 

Share Your Story:

Tourism not only creates jobs, but it also keeps taxes Floridians low because visitors pay sales taxes, bed taxes and taxes on their activities while they are in Florida. How has your community benefitted from Florida tourism? Share your story by contacting the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist Jerry Parrish at

About the Florida Scorecard:

The Florida Scorecard, located at, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283.

Marketing Florida



From the turquoise beaches of Pensacola to the laid back attitude of the Florida Keys – and every playground, adventure and attraction in-between – it’s no wonder Florida is a premiere visitor destination. With more than 800 miles of beaches – making Florida’s coast the largest in the continental United States – 1,250-plus golf courses, and nearly year-long summers, it’s no surprise our tourism industry is robust, impactful and growing.

According to VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State welcomed 93.7 million people from all 50 states and more than 180 different countries in 2013- a record number for Florida. In fact in 2013, Orlando alone welcomed 59 million visitors.

Florida isn’t stopping there. With every 85 visitors to Florida creating a new job, our state will continue to strive for record-breaking visitation. So far, the first half of 2014 has welcomed more than 50 million visitors – shattering all previous six-month figures. And for Florida, these visitors directly equate to more than one million jobs.

“Last year, Florida welcomed nearly 94 million visitors- each ready to enjoy all our state has to offer,” said Bob Miles, President of Bags, Inc. “At Bags, Inc., we are here to make travel easier for each of the millions of travelers to our state. Our business success comes from both the hard work we have put into our company and the successful job organizations like VISIT FLORIDA are doing to market our state.”

In fact, VISIT FLORIDA recently announced new marketing initiatives at the 47th Annual Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism with Governor Rick Scott. Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation will create and strengthen six programs to market our state to visitors- including a three-year partnership with National Geographic. VISIT FLORIDA will also target international travelers with tablet apps of the Official Florida Guide- featured in 7 languages, free and usable without WIFI- and will launch a Shop Florida marketing campaign in at Fashion Week Sao Paulo.

“Brazil is our No. 1 overseas origin market,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, in a recent press release. “And Brazilians are one of the best things to happen to our economy. They come ready to shop because, even at regular prices, most goods and services in the United States are much more affordable than in their home country. And in Florida, they can get high-quality goods combined with the luxury of high-quality destinations.”

The impact tourism has on our state cannot be denied. At the Florida Chamber, we will continue to advocate for partners like VISIT FLORIDA, Enterprise Florida, and innovative businesses like Bags, Inc., who help our state continue on the right path.

Learn more about Florida’s tourism industry or get involved with our international initiatives by contacting us at 850-521-1200.