Theme Parks, Family, Beaches Drawing Record Numbers Of Visitors To Florida

May 18, 2015

Tourists make the most of the Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95.
Credit Peter Haden / WJCT News

Florida has set a tourism record for a single quarter. Tourism marketer VISIT FLORIDA is reporting more than 28 million visitors arrived between January and March in 2015. WJCT went to the Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95 to see what was drawing them in.

When asked why he was visiting Florida, Wayne Phillips, from Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, said he loved Florida. He said he was going to spend his vacation at Ormond Beach.

Susan Greene, from Luberton, North Carolina, says she visits Florida about four times a year. She said on this trip she and her mother were heading to Daytona to see her aunt.

Norma Gonzalez, a Florida resident since 1990, says she was taking her cousin who was visiting from Puerto Rico to see the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.

Laura Gayle Claxton has been the Information Specialist at the Interstate 95 Welcome Center for the past 20 years. She says the most common question she gets is ‘How far is it to Disney?’


PETER HADEN, Reporter:
May I ask your name and where you're from and what brings you to Florida?
WAYNE PHILLIPS: My name is Wayne Phillips, I’m from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and I’m coming on vacation to Ormond Beach.
HADEN: You are from Virginia - Virginia is for lovers!
PHILLIPS: Well that’s fine - but I love Florida.

SUSAN GREENE: I’m Susan Greene, I’m from Lumberton, North Carolina. Me and my mother and my friend is travelling and we’re going to Daytona to see my aunt from Florida.
HADEN:  Have you ever been to Florida before?
GREENE: We come about four times a year.
HADEN: Well you almost live in Florida!
GREENE: Just about!

NORMA GONZALEZ: My name is Norma K. Gonzalez and I am from Puerto Rico. I’ve lived here in Florida since 1990. My cousin here is visiting from Puerto Rico.
HADEN: What is her favorite thing about Florida?
GONZALEZ’S COUSIN: (sheepishly) Magic Kingdom.

LAURA CLAXTON: My name is Laura Gayle Claxton, Information Specialist at the Interstate 95 Welcome Center.
HADEN: How long have you been the information specialist?
CLAXTON: Over 20 years.
HADEN: What’s the most common question people ask you?
CLAXTON: How far to Disney.
HADEN: How far is it to Disney?
CLAXTON: 184 miles.

HADEN: Really - they should just put that on the sign at the state line. Peter Haden, WJCT News.