Among other reasons, Florida likely benefited this first quarter of 2013 from the erratic weather patterns over rest of eastern U.S. and Canada, resulting in increased visits to the sunshine state.
State tourism officials say that more people visited Florida in the first three months of 2013 than any other quarter in the state’s history.
Visit Florida announced Wednesday that preliminary numbers show that 26 million visitors came to Florida in January, February and March.
It’s an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2012.
Direct travel-related employment in the first quarter of 2013 was also a record high, with 1,087,700 Floridians employed in the tourism industry. That’s a 3.4 percent increase, adding 35,700 jobs since this time one year ago.
Visit Florida officials say that in 2012 visitation numbers to the state were about 91.4 million — that figure includes 77.6 million domestic visitors, 10.2 million overseas travelers and 3.6 million Canadians.
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