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Onwards and upwards for Florida tourism

Florida tourism continues to break its own records. After a hugely successful year in 2014, the state smashed all previous highs in 2015. Last year, Florida received 105 million tourists and tourism indicators across the board registered their best ever. Florida airports also posted record results. And the good news is that, as this latest BRIC Group article explains, more of the same is expected in 2016.


After a booming 2014 for Florida tourism, Governor Scott set the state the target of 100 million visitors for 2015. High figures throughout the quarters led analysts to believe that this would be reached but it wasn’t until Q4 when it became obvious that Florida tourism was set for its best year ever.


The 25.2 million who took a holiday in Florida between October and December last year was the highest ever for the fourth quarter and proved that the state was on track for excellent annual figures. Official estimates released earlier this month point to upwards of 105 million people visiting Florida during 2015.


Rises for Florida tourism across the board

The stars of Florida tourism last year were undoubtedly the Americans themselves. The number of US visitors to the Sunshine State rose from 83.2 million in 2014 to nearly 90 million last year. International figures dropped very slightly from 11.3 million to 11.2 million.


In terms of revenue, this also increased. Taxable sales for tourism and recreation went up by 8.6 per cent between January and November, the latest monthly figures available.


Florida hotels saw a rise in occupancy of 3.2 per cent with the state average sitting at around 72 per cent for the year. In tandem with the increase in the number of nights spent in hotels went the rise in average daily rates, up by 5.9 per cent last year.


Florida airports traffic uptick

The majority of those going on holiday to Florida travel by plane and last year’s rise in visitor figures was very obvious at Florida airports. All 18 of the state’s airports experienced a hike in passenger traffic during 2015.


One of the stand-out statistics is found at Orlando International Airport used by 39 million passengers last year. International figures are particularly impressive – passengers arriving in Orlando from abroad rose by over 17 per cent and the number of flights from international destinations by 20 per cent.


Tampa Airport too experienced record figures in 2015. In the fiscal year, some 18.5 million passengers passed through this Florida airport. This represents a 6.7 per cent increase on 2014 and is the highest figure for the airport since 2008, prior to the economic crisis.


2015 was the fifth year in a row for increases in passenger traffic at Tampa Airport. International traffic went up by nearly 15 per cent and now totals a rise of 73 per cent since 2010. Domestic traffic increased by 6.4 per cent.


The small Sanford International Airport in central Florida saw a 14 per cent rise in passenger traffic last year. This increase brought the number of passengers to 2.5 million, a massive uptick considering that this airport received just 48,000 passengers in 1995.


More of the same for 2016

On the back of the record figures for 2015, Governor Scott has set another ambitious target for Florida tourism. This year, he wants to see 115 million tourists holidaying in the state.


Florida Airports are also expecting a rise in figures. Orlando International Airport has just announced the construction of the south terminal to cope with the rise in passenger traffic. Work on the new facilities is expected to start in spring this year and has an investment of US$1.1 billion.


Smaller airports are also expanding to keep up with the boom in Florida tourism. Sanford International Airport is improving its passenger facilities by providing more luggage carousels and departure gates. The expansion will take place over the next four years.


“These latest figures for Florida tourism confirm that the state is firmly back on track after the recession,” says Dies Poppeliers, Managing Director at BRIC Group. “A holiday in Florida has always been popular and these statistics show that it’s more popular than ever. This is excellent news for owners of property in Florida focusing on holiday rentals.”


BRIC Group, an investment company specialising in global real estate opportunities, offers US real estate investments including turnkey properties in Florida and Houston, and land plots in Florida. BRIC Group is also developing The Coral resort, in Northeast Brazil, a luxury beachfront resort with land and villa investment opportunities. BRIC Group has been creating wealth for its clients since 1996 and has offices in Brazil, Dubai (consulting office), Hungary, Spain and the US.


Sources: TravelWeek, Orlando Business Journal

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