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Florida welcomed a record 89.3 million visitors in 2012, up from 87.3 million in 2011. This growth is due in part to the number of overseas and Canadian visitors increasing far faster than was expected based on historical trends.

Florida’s goal of becoming the most visited destination in the world hinges on increasing brand awareness and attracting international visitors. Visit Florida released its 2013-2014 Marketing Plan on Tuesday morning and in it is a wealth of self-reported and outside statistics as well as an outline for increasing visitation and spending in the future.

Both overseas and Canadian visitors increased 8.8 percent year-over-year to 10.2 million and 3.6 million, respectively. These foreign tourist spent a combined $15 billion in 2012, a 9 percent increase over 2011.

In comparison, U.S. visitation hit 75.6 million in 2012, up just 1.2 percent year-over-year.

Although international visitors won’t overwhelm domestic visitors any time soon, their rapid growth signifies the most opportune market to focus on in the future.

International markets

Visit Florida categorizes countries as core, growth, and emerging tourism markets. Its short-term focus is increasing brand awareness with an eye for long-term strategies that will bring the new generation of travelers from develop markets like India and China to Florida, and the U.S., in the future.

Below is a breakout of each of Florida’s international tourism markets and what they contributed to the state’s economy in 2012.

Volume Spend
Core Markets 7,271,000 71,99,700,000
Canada 3,612,000 4,486,200,000
UK 1,583,000 994,200,000
Brazil 1,600,000 2,159,700,000
Germany 346,000 2,565,000
France 290,000 215,500,000
Other 1,442,000 1,247,300,000
Growth Markets 3,977,000 4,638,900,000
Brazil 1,600,000 2,159,700,000
Argentina 603,000 495,400,000
Venezuela 451,000 389,500,000
Mexico 418,000 379,800,000
Colombia 369,000 514,500,000
Other 536,000 700,000,000
Emerging Markets 1,220,000 972,900,000
Australia 278,000 205,700,000
Japan 278,000 17,3000,000
China 231,000 177,200,000
South Korea 79,000 94,500,000
Russia 70,000 85,400,000
India 58,000 36,800,000

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Photo Credit: A visitor poses in front of the sunset on Sanibel Island in Florida. Todd Kulesza / Flickr