Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing corporation, said Friday in a preliminary report a record 94.7 million visitors came to Florida in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2012.
For fourth quarter 2013, preliminary estimates show a record 21.9 million people visited the Sunshine State from October through December, a 2.2 percent gain over the year-ago period.
Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report.
Visit Florida estimated record highs of 11.5 million overseas visitors and 3.7 million Canadians came to Florida in 2013, 11.1 percent and 4.1 percent increases over 2012, respectively.
Estimates reflect a 2.5 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in 2013 and show Floridians took a record total of 20.1 million in-state pleasure trips.
Preliminary data from Tennessee-based travel research firm STR showed Florida tourism has regained market share since January 2013, outpacing the rest of the nation by 1.3 percentage points. STR said room revenue in Florida for 2013 was up 8.2 percent, compared with a 6.2 percent U.S. increase.
Gov. Rick Scott said every 85 visitors to Florida equals one job in the state, stating the rationale to budgeting $100 million to Visit Florida.
Scott on Friday visited Universal Orlando Resort, which will create nearly 3,500 new jobs this year as it builds the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, adds an on-site hotel and expands its CityWalk entertainment complex.