Mayor, Visit Jacksonville kick off National Travel and Tourism Week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and tourism and city officials kicked off National Travel and Tourism Week on Monday.

Jacksonville welcomes more than 10 million visitors to the city each year.

This week is the 33rd year of celebrating tourism in America. Travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy.

Visitors come to experience the beaches, visit attractions or snag a sweet treat from businesses.

Curry and officials from Visit Jacksonville kicked off National Travel and Tourism Week.

“The big beautiful park system, the beaches, the ability to participate in recreation and sports and our river,” Curry said.

Travel is the primary industry that works for the city. In Jacksonville alone, the travel and tourism industry generate $2.2 billion in sales each year.

Paul Astleford, the president and CEO of Visit Jacksonville, said the last two years have been record-breaking years for tourism, with close to 6 million overnight visitors staying at local hotels.

“You have to leave a welcoming atmosphere and I think Jax does an excellent job doing that,” Shannon Dearin said.

Tourism creates jobs, stimulates our economy and many business leaders said it’s a great source of community pride.  For many visitors, finding a unique business in the area only adds to the draw.

“It’s like a candy fantasy world that’s 23,000-square-feet of all kinds of variety of candies,” said Peter Behringer, owner of Sweet Pete’s.

The gourmet chocolate and candy story is in the heart of downtown Jacksonville and helps customers create lasting memories.

The tourism industry employs 22,000 residents just in Jacksonville.