Jacksonville beats the rest of Florida in tourism growth

February 2017 marks 40 months of growth, breaking even Super Bowl record


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The latest tourism data confirms what Visit Jacksonville has been bragging about for months, the city is becoming a hot destination, outperforming the growth of every other Florida city and setting new records for the local tourism industry.

The Smith Travel Research report for February, which tracks global hotel and tourism data worldwide, found that Jacksonville hotels had more occupancy and revenue than ever before, even beating the numbers from the February 2005 Super Bowl. Data also showed 40 consecutive months of increase in revenue per available room compared to the same months in the previous years, making Jacksonville the only city in Florida to be experiencing such growth.

“The impressive success for the destination is a combination of many things, but primarily it is due to growing awareness of what makes Jacksonville so unique," said Paul Astleford, president and CEO of Visit Jacksonville. "Our great waterways, our natural wonders and eco-adventures, our young and vibrant arts and culture scene, and the big sporting events we host."

In February 2017, 382,050 room nights were sold, generating $35.1 million in revenue -- the best February earnings for local hotels ever.

During 2016, the state of Florida saw slightly negative occupancy growth of -0.3 percent, yet Duval County saw 4.7 percent occupancy growth.

In the first two months of 2017, Duval County had 1.7 percent occupancy growth and 7.8 percent growth in revenue per room.

Miami, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and the Keys are seeing looses in revenue so far this year, and Miami and Fort Myers are also seeing occupancy losses. Orlando, Tampa and Daytona are all seeing slower growth than Jacksonville in all categories.

With a tourism marketing campaign that targets lovers of nature and water, big sports fans and history buffs, and with a revamped convention sales effort, Visit Jacksonville is making efforts to continue the growth in visitation for the rest of 2017.