TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The number of tourists flocking to Florida continues to surge.
Gov. Rick Scott will announce Thursday at Busch Gardens that a record number of tourists came to the Sunshine State during the first three months of this year.
Preliminary numbers show 26.7 million tourists came to Florida during that time period. That's a 2 percent jump over the first quarter of 2013. According to Visit Florida, it's the state's highest quarterly total.
The state's tourism arm says the number of direct, travel-related jobs also was at a record high with 1.12 million Floridians employed in the industry.
Last year nearly 95 million people visited the state. Scott wants to boost that number to 100 million even though legislators did not increase funding for Visit Florida as much as he wanted.