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Emerald Coast sets new tourism record

The Emerald Coast has set a new tourism record. June and July brought the highest lodging revenues in Okaloosa County's history.

With views like this one from the Emerald Grande in Destin, who wouldn't want to come to the Emerald Coast? And it looks like this year, most of them did

In June, hotels and condos reported income of more than fifty-eight million dollars, and that doesn't even include government travel.

Bruce Craul/Legendary, Inc "I think everyone that you ask would tell you that it was a record season. And unlike the Emerald Grande that's only been here since '07, I thin people will tell you that all the way back to '03, it's the best it's been"

Bruce Craul of the Emerald Grande is the former president of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. He says lots of factors play into this year's success....recovery from the oil spill, economic recovery, and great weather.

Bruce "There's a lot of pent-up demand, lot of people that wanted to go to the beach for years and years, and haven't been able to, for whatever reasons."

For visitors we talked to, the reasons are simple.

Chuck Lindsey "Primarily we come down here for vacation, meaning get on the beach every day, enjoy that"

This Lee family from Atlanta can't get enough of the emerald waters. They try to come every other year.

Moo Hee Lee/Atlanta "People are very nice, they are very friendly, and also they have so much good food! Seafood!"

Restaurants, shops and attractions all seem to be benefiting from the tourist influx. But the record was set with accommodation spending alone.

The local numbers come on the heels of governor Scott's announcement that the state had more second quarter visitors than ever before.