CENTRAL FLORIDA - Tourists visiting the Sunshine State spent more money last year than ever before.
Gov. Rick Scott said on Thursday that visitors spent a record $71.1 billion in 2012. That's a nearly 7 percent increase over 2011, which was also a record year.
The preliminary spending figures were compiled by Visit Florida, the state's quasi-public marketing arm.
Visit Florida had already estimated that nearly 90 million people visited the state in 2012.
That included 10.2 million overseas visitors and 3.6 million Canadians.
Tourism is one of Florida's most important economic drivers, with more than 1 million people employed in a variety of industry-related jobs.
Scott asked state legislators to set aside $75 million in the 2013 budget for Visit Florida, to pay for its marketing and advertising efforts.