For the fifth year running, Florida has seen a record number of visitor numbers that hit 105million in 2015.
The figure was 6.6% up on 2014’s total, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and he now wants to reach 115million.
He says, “I am proud to announce that Florida has surpassed our tourism goal and welcomed an historic 105 million visitors to our state in 2015.
“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.”
Tourism body VisitFlorida estimates that a record 89.8million domestic visitors travelled to Florida in 2015, a rise of 8% year-over-year. There were 11.2 million overseas visitors and 4million Canadians.
More travelled by air to a total of 6.1million at Florida’s 18 airports, an annual rise of 8.2%.
Will Seccombe, President and Chief Executive Officer, of VisitFlorida says the Sunshine State is on track to become the number one travel destination in the world.
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, says, “As home of the most popular theme park in the world, we’re thrilled to contribute to the record number of visitors to Florida — and the jobs and economic opportunities that tourism helps to create.”
The Florida TaxWatch group has called on the authorities to spend even more money on attracting international visitors.
“Competition for tourism dollars is fierce and the Sunshine State must fight to maintain its status as the world’s premier tourism destination.
Dominic Calabro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida TaxWatch, says, “Investing in international tourism is crucial in maintaining and growing Florida’s natural competitive advantage in attracting visitors to the Sunshine State from all parts of the world.”
With the recovery of the world economy, international travel across the world is reaching record highs. This, coupled with data showing the major positive impact international tourists have on economies, provides evidence that Florida should expand its efforts when it comes to attracting foreign visitors to the state, says the Welcoming the World: Making Florida the Top International Tourism Destination report.
Garrett Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of leading Central Florida developer and agent, Feltrim Group, says the more people that visit the region, the higher the demand for real estate.
“Just as I did, many visitors come here and love Central Florida so much that they want to invest in real estate. Another major incentive is the fact year-on-year property values have risen for 50 straight months.
“With the majority of Florida visitors coming to Orlando to see Disney, Universal and other top theme parks, plus our superb attractions, shops, restaurants and golf courses, there’s every reason that visitor numbers will continue to grow and reach the 115million target.