Florida’s tourism industry weathered the impact of Hurricane Irma, as it posted the biggest growth of visitors for the period between January and September, according to Visit Florida.
The state’s tourism bureau said that 88.2 million people went to the Sunshine State for the first nine months of 2017, up 3.3% year over year. The industry also set a record even for the third quarter, when 27.9 million visitors have stayed in Florida.
Americans who toured the state comprised 77.6 million of the total number, while Canadians and people from other countries accounted for 2.7 million and 7.9 people, respectively. Visit Florida President and CEO Ken Lawson said that the numbers had continued a growth streak, which has taken place for around five years.
The state is largely known as a popular destination for boating activities, including deep sea fishing trips in Destin, FL. Aside from sailing or fishing, many other theme parks and beaches lure people from all parts of the country and overseas. Visit Florida partly based the tourism growth from an increase in activity of hotels and accommodations.
Board and lodging
Occupancy rates for hotels in Duval County and St. Johns County posted higher numbers, alongside revenue from tourism spending. In Duval County, tourists spent $224.97 million for the first six months of 2017, up by more than $12 million from $212.41 million in the year-ago period.
Nassau County hotels also recorded more revenue during the same period, which amounted to $57.79 million from $55.95 million year over year. Tourist arrivals from 17 airports also served as a basis for calculating the increase, according to Visit Florida.
The growth in Florida’s tourism sector bodes well for businesses and jobs, especially since the recent hurricane may have affected the source of income for many residents.