’17 a record-setting year for tourists in Florida

By The Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida hit a record number of tourists in 2017, even though Hurricane Irma slammed the state.

Gov. Rick Scott announced in a news release Tuesday that 116.5 million people visited Florida. That’s a 3.6 percent increase over the 112.4 million visitors in 2016.

Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency, said there were 102.3 million domestic visitors, 10.7 million overseas visitors and 3.5 million Canadian visitors came to the Sunshine State.

Ken Lawson, President and CEO of Visit Florida, credited the record-setting numbers on aggressive and innovative marketing of the state, especially in the months after Hurricane Irma, which hit in September.

Visit Florida estimates a record 28.5 million visitors traveled to the state in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 5.5 percent over the previous year.