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Tag: Governor Rick Scott


Gov. Scott: First Quarter of 2017 Sets Florida Visitation Record

May 15th, 2017 — 2:08pm

Q1 2017 Visitor Numbers Press Conference photoI am proud to share that during a press conference at Jungle Island in Miami this morning, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record by welcoming 31.1 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017, the highest quarterly number ever. This represents a 2.5 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Even though Florida’s tourism industry is booming, the Florida Legislature cut VISIT FLORIDA’s budget by 67 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, putting Florida’s incredible growth and the many families and businesses that rely on the tourism industry at risk.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce today that Florida set another record by welcoming 31.1 million visitors during the first quarter of 2017, the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history. This historic number would not have been possible without the significant funding we have invested in VISIT FLORIDA over the past few years. It is disappointing that the Florida Legislature made a shortsighted decision to jeopardize the growth of our tourism industry and the 1.4 million jobs that rely on it by cutting funding to VISIT FLORIDA by 67 percent. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results. Instead of decimating funding to VISIT FLORIDA, we should be investing in tourism marketing so we can continue to bring record visitors to our state.”

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 27.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q1 2017, reflecting a 3.2 percent increase over the same period last year. Estimates also show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State in January-March 2017. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q1 2017 increased 1.6 percent over the same period the previous year, with a record 22.7 million enplaned passengers. For Q1 2017, the number of rooms sold grew by 2.2 percent and the hotel occupancy rate rose 0.7 percent compared to Q1 2016.

During my portion of the event today, I explained that VISIT FLORIDA will continue to focus on the task at hand, which is successfully marketing small, medium and large communities so the tourism industry can continue to create jobs. Because the Legislature decided to inadequately fund VISIT FLORIDA, our organization is going to have to make tough decisions in the coming weeks and will not be able to compete with destinations like California and Texas. We will strive every day so Florida does not become another case study like other states who lost billions of dollars in revenue due to cutting tourism marketing dollars.

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

*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.


Ken Lawson
President & CEO
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Importance of Our Industry on Full Display at Florida Tourism Day 2017

March 15th, 2017 — 1:01pm

Fight for Florida Jobs Rally at Florida Tourism Day 2017Yesterday, VISIT FLORIDA and nine other statewide organizations hosted the industry’s annual Florida Tourism Day at the Capitol. This year, there is no doubt that because of the participation of more than 600 of our Industry Partners from 44 counties, Tourism Day was a complete success.  The strength and importance of our industry was on full display for lawmakers in the Capitol.  Without the support of the job creators in our tourism industry, we would be fighting an uphill battle on our own. Continue reading »


Ken Lawson
President & CEO

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Gov. Scott Announces Florida Set Another Tourism Record in 2016

February 16th, 2017 — 12:38pm

Q4 pic 4During a press conference at the Brevard Zoo this morning, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming the highest number of visitors in the state’s history with 112.8 million in 2016.  This is the sixth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 106.6 million in 2015 by 5.9 percent.  Tourism jobs also hit a record high in 2016 of 1.4 million jobs, exceeding the previous record in 2015. Continue reading »


Ken Lawson
President & CEO

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Gov. Scott Recommends $76 Million for VISIT FLORIDA in 2017-2018 Budget

January 31st, 2017 — 2:58pm

Fighting for Florida's Future budget logoToday, Governor Rick Scott released his 2017-2018 “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget.  I am pleased to share that the Governor recommended a $76 million investment in VISIT FLORIDA.  Through this budget allocation, VISIT FLORIDA and our local tourism marketing partners will continue to promote the state’s diverse destinations to visitors across the globe, creating jobs and generating vital state and local tax revenue that benefit all Floridians. Continue reading »


Ken Lawson
President & CEO

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Gov. Scott: Florida Sets Another Tourism Record

November 21st, 2016 — 10:52am

1During a press conference at The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens this morning, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming the highest amount of visitors of any nine months in the state’s history with 85 million visitors.  This record amount of out-of-state and international visitors represents a 5.5 percent increase over the same period last year.  In the third quarter of 2016 (July-Sept.), 26.9 million visitors came to the state, an increase of 5.1 percent over Q3 2015.  This marks Florida’s largest third quarter for visitation ever.  The average number of direct travel-related jobs in quarter three of 2016 was also a record high, with 1,241,300 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 4.1 percent year over year. Continue reading »


Will Seccombe
President & CEO

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