More tourists came to Florida in the second quarter of this year than 2009, despite the threat — and reality, in some places — of oil washing ashore from the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf.
An estimated 20.8 million people visited the state between April and June, a 3.4 percent increase from the same time period last year.
The number of domestic visitors, who make up the bulk of Florida tourism, only increased by 2.4 percent. But the state saw 11.9 percent more overseas guests and 10.4 percent more Canadians visiting.
BP paid $25 million to Florida for tourism campaigns and sent another $7 million to the Panhandle counties.
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Visit Florida, the state tourism bureau, launched a Web effort to give potential visitors a real-time look at the state’s beaches, with updated photos, videos, beach and fishing reports and other information.
“We realized right away that providing a vehicle for visitors to make the most informed travel planning decisions possible was the right thing to do,” Visit Florida’s chief marketing officer Will Seccombe said in a statement. “This clearly demonstrates that transparent, real-time messaging resonated with potential visitors at a crucial time in their travel planning.”