Published on : Friday, November 30, 2018
The growth comes at a time when communities in the southwestern part of the state are dealing with fish kills from red tide. The red tide and the smell of dead fish closed many beaches in places like Collier County, and this affected local tourism. Despite the local drop, the state still welcomed a record number of guests.
“Tourism is the backbone of Florida’s economy and these visitation numbers, where we continue to break records year after year, is just feeding and growing that sector and that’s good for the economy,” said Sean Snaith, of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.
In Central Florida, the expansion of theme parks and other attractions has attracted visitors to the region, while for the most part, the beaches in Brevard, Volusia, and Flagler have remained free from the fish kills and red tide seen on the Gulf Coast.
Although overall tourism numbers are up, there are still some warning signs, particularly a two-year decline in overseas tourism.
Snaith said, “International tourists do stay longer and they do spend more.”