Florida business leaders have applauded Governor Rick Scott’s announcement that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015, according to VISIT FLORIDA. According to a press release issued by the Florida Governor’s office, this is the fifth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 percent. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in 2015 was also a record high, with 1,199,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 53,400 or 4.7 percent over the same period last year.
Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, was quoted by the news release as saying that, “As home of the most popular theme park in the world, we’re thrilled to contribute to the record number of visitors to Florida — and the jobs and economic opportunities that tourism helps to create.”
George Aguel, President and CEO of Visit Orlando, said, “Visit Orlando is delighted that Governor Scott and VISIT FLORIDA have chosen Orlando to share this milestone tourism accomplishment for our state. This news aligns nicely with Orlando’s record visitation last year of over 62 million visitors and a prediction of another record year for 2015, ensuring our unique position as the most visited destination in the nation.
DT Minich, President and CEO of Experience Kissimmee, said, “These record numbers are a direct result of the dedicated efforts of VISIT FLORIDA and fellow tourism leaders throughout the state. We’re proud to be a part of the engine attracting visitors to Florida and applaud Governor Scott’s unwavering support of the industry.”
Bill Talbert, Vice Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, “Florida’s tourism continues to achieve records upon records thanks to the extraordinary efforts of VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism industry partners who work tirelessly to attract visitors to our beautiful diverse state. New and established tourism-related businesses are fueling growth, generating new jobs and paving the way for new milestones. We are fortunate to have a Governor and Legislature that support our industry and VISIT FLORIDA in reaching and surpassing goals for Florida’s tourism today and into the future.”
Andrew Hertz, Immediate Past Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & General Manager of Miami Seaquarium, said, “We know that Florida is the best vacation destination in the world, but it takes an incredible team effort to let the world know all we have to offer. VISIT FLORIDA has been the perfect model of how a public-private partnership works on behalf of the tourism industry and the people of the State of Florida. Five years of record year-over-year growth shows that the Governor and the Legislature are wise to continue to invest in Florida’s future by their funding of VISIT FLORIDA.”
Carol Dover, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Public Affairs Committee and President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, said, “The success seen here in the Sunshine State is off the charts! We are very proud that 105 million visitors took the opportunity to experience our incredible restaurants, hotels and attractions that offer world-class service, provided by 1.2 million dedicated Floridians. We are grateful to Governor Scott and Florida lawmakers for recognizing the industry’s achievements and ensuring that our state’s economy will continue to thrive. With their support, VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing strategies are continuing to work wonders and we look forward to a sixth consecutive year of record-breaking numbers.”
Bill Lupfer, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of the Florida Attractions Association, said, “As a vital part of Florida’s tourism industry, Florida attractions celebrate five consecutive years of record breaking visitation. Florida’s world-renowned attractions and diverse destinations continue to set the industry standard, and we applaud our partners and the support of Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature.”
Mark Wilson, President & CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said, “Congratulations to VISIT FLORIDA and Florida’s tourism industry for achieving a historic 105 million visitors to Florida in 2015. When visitors travel to Florida, they learn about our top ten school rankings, low crime rate, zero personal income tax, business-friendly climate and family-friendly brand, and often return to open a business and create jobs for Floridians. The Florida Chamber is proud to celebrate this milestone, and looks forward to making Florida even more competitive in the future.”
To read the full announcement of the Governor, click HERE.