For the eighth year in a row – The Sunshine State is reporting record numbers; 116.5 million visitors, according to VISIT FLORIDA. A 3.6 percent increase over the 112.4 million visitors in 2016. Despite the impact on tourism from Hurricane Irma, followed closely by a scare from Hurricane Maria, Florida remains a top destination among travelers worldwide.

Carol Dover, President and CEO of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), said, “Given all the Sunshine State has to offer as a vacation destination, it comes as no surprise that each year, Florida continues to attract visitors in record numbers, however this welcomed outcome is incredible considering the tough year our state has faced in the wake of Hurricane Irma and validates the state’s sound investment in tourism marketing. FRLA salutes the diligent efforts of VISIT FLORIDA, as well as our hospitality industry partners, who work in concert to ensure Florida remains competitive as a leading global destination. Visitors are not only enjoying our hotels and restaurants, they’re simultaneously boosting state and local revenues, and supporting 1.4 million industry jobs across the state.”

Of course, large tourist attractions such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and Kennedy Space Center create large draws for travelers to Florida yet the economic impact created by thousands of smaller tourism based business should not be looked over. In Destin and South Walton, Florida, every spring Beach Sand Sculptures hires and trains up to 20 SandCastle Coaches to teach their award winning SandCastle Lessons along Florida’s Emerald Coast.

Beach Sand Sculptures who teach SandCastle Lessons on Florida’s Gulf Coast Panhandle, Marketing Director, Capri Mungeam said, “We are not a HUGE company. We are, however, the world’s largest SandCastle Lessons company. Teaching nearly 1000 SandCastle Lessons annually to guests visiting Florida, we typically employ around 15 people during our High Season; June-July-August. The more people who Create Memories in the Sand during a SandCastle Lessons the more people we hire.

SandCastle Lesson bookings correlate directly with the increase in visitors over the last seven year. Opening in 2011 Beach Sand Sculptures was operated part-time by husband and wife team, Rick and Capri Mungeam. Twenty fourteen was the first year they hired employees. In 2017, their employee numbers increased to nearly 15 SandCastle Coaches and a full time Manager. The Mungeams estimate SandCastle Lesson booking will exceed 1000 for 2018. Hundreds of small businesses across Florida have experience similar number increase as the Visit Florida report indicates. Demonstrating smaller businesses have a strong accumulated effect on Florida’s economy.

For more information on becoming a SandCastle Coach for the summer season go to www.SandCastleLessons.INFO choose the #BestJobEver tab and fill out the online applications.