Cha-ching! Manatee County enjoyed a sterling 2012 as almost 3 million people visited our fine slice of paradise, a sweet increase of 3.9 percent over the previous year. Tourism's economic impact to the county soared to some $845 million, an even stronger 10.5 percent jump.
Statewide, the total reached 91.4 million visitors last year.
And the numbers are rising again. Visit Florida announced this week the first three months of this year set an all-time quarterly record with 26 million visitors. That's also 4.7 percent higher than the same quarter in 2012.
Manatee County tourism officials are also excited about the year's first quarter, with visitor totals 7.5 percent higher than the same time span in 2012.
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In a word, wow. Tourism in Florida -- and Manatee -- is as strong as ever.