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Tourist Numbers Up For First Quarter

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TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida’s sun soaked beaches, theme parks and golf courses saw a record number of visitors in the first quarter.

During a stop at Busch Gardens in Tampa on Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott will announce preliminary numbers show 26.7 million tourists came to Florida during the first three months of the year. 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.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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