Visit Florida to announce “’record” tourism numbers for 2013

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Visitors to the Sunshine State reached a record high in 2013, according to numbers scheduled for release by Florida’s tourism agency.

Visit Florida, the quasi-public public corporation created to promote tourism, will officially provide details next Friday showing the “third consecutive record year” for visitors in a release from Gov. Rick Scott’s office.

A new one-year high isn’t quite a revelation, because estimated Florida tourism numbers were on track for about 94 million visitors during the first three quarters of 2013, substantially higher than the 91.4 million total visitors in 2012 and 85.9 million in 2011.

Visit Florida president and CEO Will Seccombe discussed tourism numbers Thursday during an appearance before the state Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Scott set a goal of 100 million visitors a year, and requested $100 million for Visit Florida in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which is $35 million more than during the current budget for the year ending June 30.

State money over and above private contributions, which are expected to be $111.9 million during the current year.

Additional funding would be used to develop both domestic and international advertising as well as efforts to persuade air carriers to expand the number of international flights to Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.