Florida welcomed 57.4 million tourists in the first six months of 2016, disclosed Florida’s Governor Rick Scott.“It’s exciting that we are starting the first half of 2016 off with back to back record quarters which puts us on pace to reach our goal of 115 million tourists this year and $100 billion in visitor spending by 2020. In Florida, the health and safety of our visitors is a top priority and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors to the Sunshine State this year,” Scott said.The record accounts for a 4.3% year-over-year increase. In the first quarter of the year, Florida had 30.1 million visitors. Another 27.3 million came in the second quarter, a 3.1% increase over the second quarter of 2015, said Scott. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in quarter two of 2016 was also a record high, with 1,255,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry– up 4.3% year over year.William D Talbert, III, CDME, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, said, “The success of Florida tourism is directly attributable to the strong alignment between VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism industry Partners, and their continued investment in strengthening the state’s incredible tourism product.”Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased 6.1% year over year for January through April 2016. The demand in rooms sold grew 1.1% and the hotel occupancy rate was down 0.3% compared to quarter two of 2015.Last year, Florida recorded 105 million tourists, becoming the first state to cross the 100-million mark for out-of-state and international visitors.