Florida & First Coast sees record number of visitors in 2018

Florida and the First Coast experienced another year of record-breaking tourist visits in 2018, keeping pace with the last half-decade of record-setting visitation numbers.

Some figures still need to be collected in the last quarter of 2018, but the first three reporting quarters showed new high levels of tourism. Visit Florida, the state’s tourism bureau, reported the first nine months of 2018 had more visitors coming to the Sunshine State than ever before, with that period seeing a 6.7 percentage point increase over 2017. That accounts for 95.8 million tourists visiting Florida between January through September.

Local numbers of visitors on the First Coast were also up in never-before-seen levels. Tourism officials in Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties all saw record tourism figures this year.

Local tourism officials use hotel occupancy rates as their main indicator for visitation figures as conducted by Smith Travel research figures.

Duval County and Visit Jacksonville officials saw a 75.1 percent hotel occupancy rate through September, a 1.9 percent increase for the same period in 2017. The average daily rate was $96.92 per room, which was a 5.3 percent increase from 2017, and the revenue generated per available room was $72.80, a 7.3 percent increase over the year before.

Read full article . . .