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.

VolumeSpend
Core Markets7,271,00071,99,700,000
Canada3,612,0004,486,200,000
UK1,583,000994,200,000
Brazil1,600,0002,159,700,000
Germany346,0002,565,000
France290,000215,500,000
Other1,442,0001,247,300,000
Growth Markets3,977,0004,638,900,000
Brazil1,600,0002,159,700,000
Argentina603,000495,400,000
Venezuela451,000389,500,000
Mexico418,000379,800,000
Colombia369,000514,500,000
Other536,000700,000,000
Emerging Markets1,220,000972,900,000
Australia278,000205,700,000
Japan278,00017,3000,000
China231,000177,200,000
South Korea79,00094,500,000
Russia70,00085,400,000
India58,00036,800,000

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