CREATED May. 8, 2013
NAPLES, Fla.- The average visitor in Collier County stays just under 5 days and Naples is seeing alot of international travelers from the UK and Ireland.
Sue Volner is celebrating her 42nd wedding anniversary with her husband by her side and the sand in her toes.
"We've been coming down to this area a good 25 years, down to the Naples Beach Resort last year. We loved it and that's really why we are back again," said Volner.
Volner is visiting Naples for the week from New Jersey and the beach is the number one reason why visitors come to Collier County. Dining out takes the second spot.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau announced on Wednesday its latest tourism numbers for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. Collier County is seeing the highest numbers ever with more than 1.5 million visitors. International travelers are a main reason for the boost to tourism.
"We enjoy the weather. It's been a long winter in Sweden. We just enjoy the sun and hanging out here," said Camilla Vidjeskov.
Jack Wert, the county's tourism director, says marketing plays a big role in bringing in visitors.
For example, the county put up a billboard in Chicago to bring tourists to Collier's sandy shoreline.
Tourist tax revenue generated by visitors pays for marketing.
"Tourist tax is charged to visitors for any short term stay, 6 months or less, 4% tourist development tax collected from those visitors," said Jack Wert, Collier County's tourism director.
Nearly 40% of visitors say it's their first time staying in Naples and the goal is to get them hooked on paradise.
So what does a boost in tourism mean for Collier County? It means jobs, nearly 1,700 jobs last year were added in the hospitality business.