PHOTO: A beach in Satellite Beach, Florida. (Photo via Flickr/Ricardo Mangual)
On Thursday, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that the state broke a new record for tourism by hosting nearly 113 million visitors.
According to WKMG ClickOrlando, Scott spoke during a press conference held at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida, where he announced that the state had welcomed an estimated 113 million tourists in 2016, marking the sixth-consecutive year of growth.
The previous record was set in 2015 with almost 107 million visitors. Scott also revealed that tourists visiting Florida spent $109 billion and supported a record 1.4 million jobs last year.
The rise in visitors to Florida comes despite natural disasters, a virus outbreak, the Orlando nightclub attack and controversy surrounding the state’s tourism department due to the payment of $1 million to the singer Pitbull.
READ MORE: “Florida's Tourism Industry Still Thriving Despite Tragedies, Zika Virus”
Several members of the House of Representatives are looking to shut down Visit Florida due to the questionable contracts, but Scott remains adamant in his defense of the tourism department and the impact it has on the state economy.
“I don’t understand how anyone can look at Florida’s booming tourism industry, and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports, and vote to kill it,” Scott said at the press conference. “The legislation the Florida House is pushing puts more than 1.4 million jobs at risk, and we cannot let that happen.”
“In the face of adversity, we continued in our mission to promote our great state and thanks to the hard work of Visit Florida, we continue to see record visitors to Florida,” Scott continued.