Sarasota, Florida -- All the cold weather up north is paying off for Sarasota tourism as officials report business is up.

Visit Sarasota officials say hotel occupancy in January increased by 12% and growing daily at an average of 4%.

December brought in 18% more in tourist development tax dollars over December 2012's record breaking figures.

Business owners also say this year is better than last year.

"The news about the area's amenities, the beaches, downtown, the arts -- it's only positive for the area. This area has always been a gem for people from the Midwest and up north to visit. I think as every year passes it gets more popular as you can tell on the road," saysVice-President and General Manager of Marina Jack Thomas DeLong.

The tourism season lasts through Easter which is April 20this year.

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