Governor Rick Scott today announced that Florida set another tourism record in 2017 by welcoming the highest number of visitors in any year in the state’s history with 116.5 million visitors, according to VISIT FLORIDA. This represents a 3.6 percent increase over the 112.4 million visitors in 2016.
Santa Rosa County experienced a 17 percent increase in tourism revenues during 2017. From January through December 2016, Santa Rosa County collected $2,448,702.21. During that same period in 2017, the total was $2,866,950 — the highest ever for the county.
Governor Scott said, “Today, I am proud to announce that Florida has continued our record-breaking success by welcoming more than 116 million visitors in 2017. Because of VISIT FLORIDA’s aggressive marketing efforts to make sure families across the world knew that Florida was open to visitors following Hurricane Irma, we are able to celebrate another record-breaking year for tourism. This is especially great news for the 1.4 million jobs that rely on our growing tourism industry. We will continue to market our state as the number one global destination for tourism.”
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 116.5 million visitors traveled to Florida in 2017, an increase of 3.6 percent over last year. This number breaks down to 102.3 million domestic visitors, 10.7 million overseas visitors and 3.5 million Canadian visitors coming to the Sunshine State. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in 2017 increased 4.1 percent over the same period the previous year, with 87.2 million passengers. The number of hotel rooms sold in Florida during 2017 grew by 4.6 percent compared to quarter four 2016. During the same period, Florida’s average daily room rate (ADR) increased by 2.6 percent and occupancy by 3.2 percent.
Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “Florida welcomed a record 116.5 million visitors in 2017, which is great news for our state. Because of the cutting-edge marketing programs at VISIT FLORIDA, particularly following Hurricane Irma, we were able to increase total visitation by 3.6 percent over last year, resulting in billions of dollars in revenue for the state. We are continuing to aggressively market the Sunshine State to the rest of the country and the rest of the world.”
Maryann Ferenc, Board Chair of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “I would like to offer gratitude to the Governor and the Legislature for funding VISIT FLORIDA, the VISIT FLORIDA team for their successful efforts, the tourism industry for creating a Florida that people want to visit and residents for creating the real welcome. Alignment at the local, state and national level have created prosperity in Florida!”
Carol Dover, President and CEO of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), said, “Given all the Sunshine State has to offer as a vacation destination, it comes as no surprise that each year, Florida continues to attract visitors in record numbers, however this welcomed outcome is incredible considering the tough year our state has faced in the wake of Hurricane Irma and validates the state’s sound investment in tourism marketing. FRLA salutes the diligent efforts of VISIT FLORIDA, as well as our hospitality industry partners, who work in concert to ensure Florida remains competitive as a leading global destination. Visitors are not only enjoying our hotels and restaurants, they’re simultaneously boosting state and local revenues, and supporting 1.4 million industry jobs across the state.”
Florida set another record despite losing 1.8 million visitors due to Hurricane Irma, according to a recent report commissioned by VISIT FLORIDA. The impact report of Hurricane Irma shows that it cost the state 1.8 million visitors. An estimated 34.9 million out-of-state visitors came to Florida in the final four months of 2017. In the “no hurricane” model, Florida would have hosted 36.7 million visitors during that same time period. Additionally, Irma resulted in a loss of $1.5 billion in visitor spending, with $1.1 billion attributable to domestic visitors and $400 million for international visitors. Visitation was hit hardest in September, with visitation falling 13.5 percent relative to anticipated growth. However, losses were drastically reduced by October, and even more so in the following months. VISIT FLORIDA’s Post-Irma Marketing Campaign helped curb the effects of Irma on visitation, with an estimated 358 million impressions in the month following Irma.
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 28.5 million visitors traveled to Florida in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 5.5 percent over the same period last year. This Q4 number breaks down to 25.0 million domestic visitors, 2.8 million overseas visitors and 705,000 Canadian visitors coming to the Sunshine State. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q4 2017 increased 6.7 percent over the same period the previous year, with 21.7 million passengers. The number of hotel rooms sold in Florida during quarter four of 2017 grew by 8.1 percent compared to quarter four 2016. During the same period, Florida’s average daily room rate (ADR) increased by 5.4 percent and occupancy by 7.0 percent.