A record-breaking 105 million tourists visited Florida in 2015, beating last year’s all-time high of 98.5 million visitors during by 6.6 percent, according to data released Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
“Tourism plays an important role in supporting our economy, and we will continue to make strategic investments in the tourism industry to keep Florida on track to becoming first for jobs,” Scott said Thursday in a statement released by his office. “With five consecutive record years for tourism, it is time to set our goal even higher, and I look forward to welcoming 115 million visitors to the Sunshine State this year.”
Tourism-related jobs are also at an all-time high, according to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing organization.
Nearly 1.2 million Floridians were employed in the tourism industry in 2015 – up 4.7 percent over the same period last year.
Palm Beach County’s tourism industry also saw record-breaking growth last year.
Roughly 6.9 million people visited the county last year, a 10 percent increase over the record set in 2014, when 6.3 million traveled here, Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization said last week.
Roughly 4.3 million nightly bookings were made at Palm Beach County’s hotels and motels last year, up from 4.19 million in 2014.
While the number of domestic visitors grew by 11.7 percent in 2015, the county saw a slight drop in international travelers, Discover said.
Discover officials said visitors from international markets fell by 0.4 percent last year, but noted other vacation destinations in Florida and across the U.S. have experienced a similar decline.
Statewide, Visit Florida estimates that a record 89.8 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in 2015 — an 8 percent increase over 2014. The organization said estimates show 11.2 million overseas visitors and 4 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State last year.