As 2017 got underway, Scott, who announced Tuesday's figures at the Naples Zoo, had sought to push the annual tourism figure to 120 million. Hurricane Irma kept Florida from reaching a goal of 120 million visitors last year but didn't stop the state from hitting a new single-year tourism high.
Scott announced that Florida drew an estimated 116.5 million visitors in 2017, up 3.6 percent from the previous high of 112.4 million in 2016.
Overall, the state recorded 102.3 million domestic travelers last year, up from 97.9 million in 2016 and 91.3 million in 2015. Here in Orlando, more than 68 million visitors come annually, fueling the region's $60 billion tourism industry.
A report for Visit Florida by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, found that Irma cost the state 1.8 million visitors, based on tourism trends before the September storm swept through the state. The numbers the past two years — bolstered by a 12 percent increase in domestic travelers in that time — came despite deadly storms.
The state also recorded traffic at Florida's top 18 airports grew by 4.1 percent in 2017 from 2016, with 87.2 million passengers.
"Because of Visit Florida's aggressive marketing efforts to make sure families across the world knew that Florida was open to visitors following Hurricane Irma, we can celebrate another record-breaking year for tourism," Scott said in a prepared statement, referring to the state tourism-marketing agency.