TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida set another record in tourism in the first half of the year by welcoming the highest amount of visitors of any six months in the state’s history with 54.1 million visitors, according to Visit Florida.
This record amount of visitors represents a 5.8% increase over the year. In the second quarter of 2015 (April-June), 25.8 million visitors came to the state, an increase of 5.5% over the year before. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in quarter two of 2015 was also a record high, with 1,213,500 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 4.9% over the year.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I am proud to announce the Sunshine State continued our record breaking success and welcomed the most visitors in Florida’s history over the first half of the 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. 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.”
Visit Florida estimates that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.2 million Canadians came to Florida in quarter two of 2015. Estimates also show that 21.9 million domestic visitors travelled to Florida in the second quarter of 2015, reflecting a 6.8% increase over the year. Preliminary figures for the first half of 2015 show 45.7 million domestic visitors, 5.5 million overseas visitors and 2.9 million Canadians have come to the Sunshine State, representing increases of 6.7%, 1.7% and 1.1% respectively.
“The continued growth of tourism for the second quarter, including a record number of tourism related jobs, puts Florida on pace for a fifth consecutive record breaking year,” said John Tomlin, Chair of the Visit Florida Board of Directors.