28 December 2012

Florida gears up for record year in US tourism

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The South Florida region has already enjoyed a record year in 2012, but with US tourism rates expected to continue rising, 2013 looks set to be even better.

US visa

Florida is home to some of the largest theme parks and resorts, such as Disney World, in the world.

Following changes to US visa processing times and accessibility for tourists from big-spending Brazil and China as well as Taiwan's accession to the US Visa Waiver Program, international tourism to the US has grown substantially in the past year.

Florida, traditionally one of the country's biggest tourist draws thanks to the abundance of theme parks, zoos and beaches, has already enjoyed a record year in 2012 with several counties in the South Florida region recording significant increases on previous years.

Combined with an easing in international traveller restrictions, the US economy has continued its slow recovery from recession, releasing further development funds for hotels and resorts which had stalled at the height of the recession.

While the American government still has to negotiate its way round the dread 'fiscal cliff', tourism experts aren't worried thanks to the influx of international visitors.

"I think international arrivals will be the main driver for growth in 2013 because of new flights to South Florida," said president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nicki Grossman.

"And the US dollar remains cheap compared to other currencies, which makes it easier for visitors to come here and to buy when they're here."

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