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Florida breaks tourism record in the first half of 2015

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

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Florida welcomed the largest number of visitors of any six months in the state’s history this year. Some 54.1 million tourists visited the state in the first half of 2015. It marks a 5.8 percent increase compare to the first half of 2014, according to preliminary estimates from Visit Florida.

Florida Govornor Rick Scott joined local tourism and government officials at the Miami International Airport and talked about the state’s tourism. "We are excited to mark the first half of 2015 with our biggest second quarter ever, and we look forward to exceeding our goal of 100 million visitors to Florida this year," Scott said.

Florida drew 25.8 million visitors in the second quarter, 5.5 percent more than the same period last year.

"Our growing tourism industry employs over 1.2 million Floridians and is helping us meet our goal of becoming the best place in the world for jobs," added Scott.

In Broward County, hotel occupancy from April through June rose 1.3 percent from last year, to 77 percent, according to data from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. The average daily room rate climbed 4 percent to $124.44.

Broward hotels were 82.8 percent full in the first half of the year at an average rate of $150.40, the tourism bureau said.

Palm Beach County hosted 3.7 million tourists in the first half of the year, an increase of nearly 12 percent from last year, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, its official tourism marketing organization.

Florida's average daily room rate in the second quarter rose 4.7 percent, while hotel occupancy climbed 2.9 percent from the same period in 2014.

MIA has been a leading contributor to the historic milestone, reporting more than 10 million passenger arrivals, and a total of 21.9 million total passengers through June. The airport is also the state's busiest for international travelers, who make up 70 percent of all foreign visitors to Florida annually. The airport is on pace to host more than 43 million passengers this year.

According to Visit Florida's estimates, 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.2 million Canadians visited the state in the second quarter. Meanwhile, 21.9 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida, a 6.8 percent increase from the prior year.

For the first six months of the year, Florida attracted 45.7 million domestic visitors, 5.5 million overseas visitors and 2.9 million Canadians, preliminary figures show. Those figures represented increases of 6.7 percent, 1.7 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, Visit Florida said.

Source: Bizjournal, Sun Sentinel

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