- Florida recorded 37.9 million tourists in the first three months of 2023, the largest number in a single financial quarter in state history.
- Last week, Orlando was named the most-visited location in the US for 2022 with a total of 74 million visitors.
- Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency, could have its state funding doubled, reaching $100 million, due to the influx of tourists and positive economic activity.
- Florida-based cruise activity’s direct expenditures generated 158,992 jobs, $8.1 billion in income across the state, and more than $9 billion in direct revenue for Florida businesses, with 11 million passengers in 2022.
The state of Florida recorded 37.9 million tourists during the first three months of 2023, making up the largest volume of visitors across a three-month span in state history.
The first quarter of 2023 saw approximately 34.6 million domestic visitors and an additional 1.8 million overseas visitors, representing a 36 percent increase compared to the previous year. Orlando, following a 25 percent increase in visitors in 2022 compared to 2021, emerged as the most-visited location in the United States with a total of 74 million visitors.
Following the influx of tourists, Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, could see its state funding double from $50 million to $100 million under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed state budget for the Fiscal Year 2023-24. The allocation was originally proposed after Florida welcomed 97.7 million domestic visitors in 2022, an 11.4 percent increase compared to 2021.
“In Florida, we are combatting negative national economic headwinds by promoting policies that support Florida businesses and families and attract record numbers of tourists every day,” said DeSantis on Friday.
Coming off of now-terminated COVID-19 travel restrictions, 5 million international tourists arrived in Florida last year, marking a 94.8 percent year-over-year increase. According to agency data, the top origin points for international travelers last year were Colombia, Canada, and Mexico.
“Each quarter shows that Florida is the most sought-after destination for visitors and we are excited to continue our efforts in welcoming more throughout the year,” said Dana Young, President and CEO of Visit Florida.
Florida’s cruise industry also reported positive economic activity, with the state claiming the world’s top three cruise homeports – the Port of Miami, Port Canaveral, and Port Everglades – and being home to the largest cruise ships in the world. Florida-based cruise activity’s direct expenditures generated 158,992 jobs, $8.1 billion in income across the state, and more than $9.0 billion in direct revenue for Florida businesses, with 11 million passengers in 2022.
Florida’s visitors contributed $96.5 billion to the state’s economy and supported over 1.6 million jobs. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research reports a return of $3.27 in state tax revenue for every dollar invested in Visit Florida.
Moreover, three Florida airports, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV), and Orlando International Airport (MCO), were selected to receive funding grants as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden.
MCO, one of the busiest airports in the country, serves as a major international gateway to popular destinations like Disney World and St. Augustine.