FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Finally the roads are a little less crowded and the beaches are not as packed.

The snowbirds are going home and winter season is ending, but it certainly was a busy one.

“I think there were a lot more people this year,” said Canadian Snowbird Helen Blanchette.  “A lot of traffic, a lot of people on the beach, everywhere.”

She’s right, there were a lot more people here this year, 12.6 million people visited Broward in 2012 according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, that’s more than ever before.

Dairy Belle is a restaurant and ice cream parlor in Dania Beach.  For years it’s catered to Canadian tourists.  It’s best known for the popular Canadian dish, poutine, and served a lot of it in the past few months.

“This year it was like busy non-stop,” said owner Francois Grenier.   “The end of December, early January, we saw a long line of people, 80 people in line in January, which we’ve never seen before.”

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates visitors spent nearly 10 billion dollars in Broward last year, that’s about 26 million a day, a million an hour and 18 thousand dollars a minute.   And with new non-stops from Fort Lauderdale coming to Norway, Sweden and Latin America this year – it looks like even more people will discover what Broward has to offer.

“The forecast is bright and sunny,” said Nicki Grossman from the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  “We’re going to see 13 million visitors this coming year.”


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