BRIEF: 2012 record year for tourist spending in Fla. [Orlando Sentinel]
(Orlando Sentinel (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 07--Visitors to Florida spent a record $71.8 billion while on vacation or business here last year, 6.8 percent more than the year before, state officials said Thursday.
That translates to about $4.6 billion more than the $67.2 billion spent in 2011, said Visit Florida, the state's tourism-marketing agency. The last time visitors to the state spent anywhere near that much in one year was 2007, just ahead of the Great Recession, when the tab totaled $65.5 billion.
"Florida's tourism industry is critical to Florida families, as it serves as a vital source of revenue to the state and a key driver of employment," Gov. Rick Scott said during a Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee.
Scott has recommended increasing Visit Florida's budget by nearly 40 percent, to $75 million, for the 2013-14 fiscal year. If lawmakers sign off on that, it would mean public funds for the state's tourism-promotion agency will have roughly tripled in the past few years.
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