(The Center Square) — Florida officials say that the Sunshine State has set another record for tourism.
According to a news release from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, visitation to the Sunshine State has set a record between July and September of 2023 with an estimated total of 35.1 million visitors.
The vast majority were domestic travelers, topping over 32 million, while international travelers numbered 2.2 million, and Canadian visitors came to just over 660,000. In 2023, there have been 105.2 million visitors to Florida, more than 700,000 more visitors than in 2022.
DeSantis said in the news release that Florida thrives due to the lack of restrictions.
“Florida continues to set records for visitation because of our commitment to allowing visitors to enjoy their travels without arbitrary government restrictions. Florida will continue to be a beacon of freedom for travelers,” DeSantis said.
In comparison to 2022, visitor numbers have increased by 1.6%, a whopping 8% higher than the same period in 2019, according to Visit Florida, the state’s official travel, tourism, and vacation website.
Dana Young, President and CEO of Visit Florida, said in a statement that Visit Florida’s partnerships with local tourism businesses spotlight the Sunshine State’s natural beauty and fuels visitation growth.
“Because of the visionary leadership of Governor DeSantis, whose Freedom First policies led our state to record numbers of visitors in the past, Florida has secured a new normal with an elevated market share of tourism, especially international tourism,” Young said.
Florida’s tourism industry and the amount visitors spend while on vacation is also outpacing national growth, up 3.9%, while Florida is up by 11.3% compared to the third quarter of 2019.
Travel spending is currently down in California and New York by 3.2% and 1.2% respectively.
In 2022, Florida’s closest neighbors, Georgia and Alabama, have also seen some growth in visitor numbers.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced in September that the Peach State had 167.7 million domestic and international travelers during the 2022 calendar year, with tourists spending $39.8 billion. The 2022 Alabama Tourism Economic Report states that tourists spent more than $22.4 billion in 2022, and visitor numbers reached over 28.6 million.