(The Center Square) — Florida tourism officials say the number of international visitors to the Sunshine State is rising.
Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, announced in a news release Wednesday that in the first and second quarters of 2023, Florida had the most significant international visitor numbers since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Visit Florida’s new estimates, Canadian travelers to Florida increased by 81.1% compared to the same two quarters in 2022, while overseas visitors increased by 21.8%. In total, there were 1.9 million international travelers and 846,000 Canadian visitors to Florida between April and June 2023.
The news release also stated that Florida’s annual visitation records continue to be broken. Over 70 million visitors have landed in Florida in 2023, an increase of 1.3% over the first six months of 2022.
Dana Young, Visit Florida President & CEO stated in the news release that a primary focus has been encouraging international visitors to the Sunshine State.
“Visit Florida has been laser-focused on building our key international markets and ensuring the return of international visitors to Florida and that work has paid off,” Young said in the release.
Young also said despite other states fully reopening to domestic tourism, Florida continues to lead with international travelers.
“Florida has the largest share of international visitors ahead of New York and California and we lead the nation in overseas arrival recovery compared to 2019. This is all thanks to Governor DeSantis’ freedom-first policies and focus on being the number one destination in the country,” Young said.
According to preliminary estimates, 33.1 million visitors in total traveled to Florida in quarter two of 2023, a 2.6% increase over the same time period in 2019. Domestic visitors accounted for 91.6% of these, Canadians made up 2.6% and international visitors accounted for 5.9%.
Florida is also leading in recovering international visitors post-pandemic with a recovery rate of 80% when compared to 2019, outpacing both California and New York who are at 68% and 75% respectively. The national rate also falls behind Florida at 73%, according to Visit Florida.