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With nearly 97 million visitors, Florida had a record year for tourism in 2013

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - For tourism in Florida, 2013 was a record year.

Tourism in the Sunshine State increased by 3.5 per cent in 2013 compared with the prior year, with about 94.7 million people visiting Florida in 2013.

Gov. Rick Scott announced last year's numbers Friday at Universal Orlando Resort, where nearly 3,500 new jobs are expected to be created this year. Universal Orlando is building the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, adding a new hotel and expanding the CityWalk entertainment complex.

Visit Florida, the state's tourism arm, said the number of direct, travel-related jobs also was at a record high: 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the industry, a 2.9 per cent increase from 2012.

Scott said he is proposing that the Florida Legislature boost Visit Florida's budget by 57 per cent to $100 million.

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