If it seemed as if there were more tourists hanging around local stores, restaurants and attractions last year, you’re not imagining things.
There were 531,900 tourists here from September 2017 to August 2018 -- the most recent data available. That’s up 8.2 percent from the same period a year earlier.
John Pricher, director of the Citrus County Visitors Bureau, provided the Chronicle with the latest data from consultant Walter Klages, president of Research Data Services Inc.
The summer tourist season -- generally from May to August 2018 -- saw a 6 percent tourism spike with 210,600 people visiting Citrus County.
Klages attributed the rise to multiple factors, including marketing efforts to attract seasonal scallopers, manatee watchers, park-goers, kayakers and anglers.
Tourism was up across the state.
Buoyed by tourists from other parts of the United States, Florida drew an estimated 30.7 million visitors during the third quarter of 2018, according to numbers released last month by the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida and Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
That was a 10.1 percent increase over the same period in 2017 and kept Florida on pace for a record year for visitors coming to the state.
During the period from July 1 through Sept. 30, Florida drew more than 27.5 million domestic travelers, an 11.6 percent increase over the same period in 2017. Overseas visitors were down 1.9 percent, while Canadian tourists were up 0.9 percent, according to the numbers.
In all, Florida had attracted nearly 95.8 million visitors during the first nine months of 2018, up from 89.8 million during that time frame in 2017. The state had a record 118.8 million tourists for all of 2017.
Material from News Service of Florida was used in this report.