Connect with us
Growth and development Florida


Florida had another record-setting year for tourism

More and more travelers are choosing the Sunshine State.

An unprecedented 126 million visitors traveled to Florida last year.

It’s the eighth consecutive year the Sunshine State shattered visitation records, according to VISIT FLORIDA, which highlighted the estimates on Wednesday.

Dana Young, a former lawmaker who was tapped by Gov. Ron DeSantis to lead the public-private tourism marketing agency earlier this year, credited the success to her agency’s focus on “value and data-driven campaigns.”

“We appreciate Governor DeSantis for his support of our organization and Florida’s entire tourism industry,” Young added. “Working together, we will continue to deliver results to Florida taxpayers who rely on VISIT FLORIDA to protect and enhance our iconic tourism industry.”

Out-of-state visitation experienced a more than  7 percent increase in 2018 compared to 2017, with nearly 112 million non-Floridian Americans heading to the Sunshine State. Meanwhile, about 10.8 million came from overseas, and 3.5 million called Canada home.

Young, a Republican who narrowly lost re-election to her Tampa state Senate seat last year, had last week told lawmakers that she expected 2018 to be another record-breaking year.

She told lawmakers that VISIT FLORIDA always focuses on marketing outside of the state. She also foreshadowed the agency’s plans for 2019.

“In partnership with the Governor’s Office, we’re going to do something in Israel this year,” Young told the Senate’s Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Concerns over the state’s tourism industry began to rise last year after widespread news coverage of harmful blue-green algal blooms and red tide. The New York Times, for example, highlighted in September how red tide was affecting local tourism. The state’s overall tourism industry, however, appears unfazed. 

Gov. DeSantis has recommended maintaining current-level funding ($76 million) for VISIT FLORIDA for the upcoming fiscal year.

Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at

Hugh Culverhouse calls for boycott of University of Alabama


State lawmakers object, district apologizes, after Orlando valedictorian blocked from giving speech on immigrants


Greyhound racing supporters ready lawsuit to ‘overturn’ Amendment 13


FPL second-fastest growing solar provider nationwide


Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.