The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico appeared to affect Florida tourism, as domestic visitation fell 1.6% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, according to statistics compiled by Visit Florida.
“Given what the tourism industry faced this summer, it’s not surprising to see that the domestic visitation numbers are down slightly,” said Chris Thompson, Visit Florida’s CEO.
However, international visitors boosted the total. Visit Florida said the number of Canadian and overseas visitors increased 23% and 17.4%, respectively. Overall, 18.9 million travelers visited the Sunshine State in the third quarter (a 0.6% increase), according to Visit Florida’s preliminary estimates.
Enplanements at Florida’s 14 major airports rose 3.8%, the average daily room rate at Florida hotels rose 1.2% and tourism-related employment rose 0.8%.
“I am very encouraged by the continued strength of our overseas and Canadian markets, as well as the increase in the number of Floridians employed in tourism,” Thompson said.