By The News Service of Florida
First-quarter tourism into Florida was up 6.7 percent from a year ago, with overseas visitors still under pre-COVID-19 figures, according to a release from the governor’s office Friday.
Florida’s tourism agency Visit Florida estimated a record 37.9 million travelers into the state during the first quarter of 2023, up from a prior single-quarter high of 35.528 million in the first three months of 2022. The first quarter estimates “show that 2023 is on track to continue Florida’s outstanding performance in welcoming visitors,” Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young said in the release.
Visitors from other states continue to drive tourism growth, accounting for more than 91 percent of the first-quarter numbers. The latest figures include 1.8 million overseas visitors, an increase of 36 percent over last year but a decline from the 2.276 million visitors who traveled to the state in the first quarter of 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. State lawmakers agreed to provide $80 million for Visit Florida during the upcoming 2023-2024 fiscal year, an increase of $30 million from the current year. The state spending plan (SB 2500) awaits delivery to Gov. Ron DeSantis.