Florida's tourism on pace for another record year

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's tourism industry is on pace for another record year.

VISIT FLORIDA, the state's public-private tourism agency, on Thursday released a preliminary estimate showing the state had 21.9 million visitors in the third quarter of 2012. That's a 3.5 percent increase over the same four-month period last year.

Direct travel-related employment, though, increased only 1.5 percent, adding 15,000 jobs in July through October.

Tourism and recreational sales totaled $49 billion in the third quarter, a 7.5 percent increase from the same period in 2011. Hotel occupancy increased 1.7 percent and average room rates increased 3.3 percent.

Domestic visitors were up 3.2 percent and international visitors increased 5.5 percent. That includes a 4 percent increase in Canadian travelers.

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