A Florida TaxWatch Economic Report
More Florida visitors pay off with jobs
Quantifying jobs created by increased tourism
Investment in Florida's tourism industry resulted in nearly 76,000 jobs created in 2013, according to a new Florida TaxWatch report. The independent analysis shows that the state should meet the goal of attracting 100 million visitors to Florida by 2015, which has a significant impact on job creation in the state.
"Florida's thriving tourism industry provides extraordinary opportunities for economic growth," said Dominic Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog. "By increasing the number of visitors to Florida, the state is on track to reach this important milestone, providing jobs to hardworking taxpayers along the way."
The report reveals that the number of visitors to Florida increased by more than 2.8 million in 2013 alone, continuing a trend of steadily increasing visitor numbers. In the new report, the nonpartisan, business-oriented watchdog group identified that due to this increase, Florida added 38,389 tourism related jobs, which is expected to induce or indirectly result in an additional 37,382 non-tourism industry jobs for Floridians. Tourism expansion in 2013 is attributed to the creation of more than 75, 771 jobs with an average annual salary of more than $43,000.
"Florida's tourism industry is responsible for far more than lowering the tax burden for the state's residents," said Jerry D. Parrish, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Florida TaxWatch and Director of the TaxWatch Center for Competitive Florida. "Expanding tourism has a direct impact on job creation in the state, and the economic impact can be felt in many of Florida's other industries."
VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation, reports quarterly visitation and tourism industry employment figures to the State Economist's Office. The latest figures from the first quarter of 2014 showed that 26.7 million visitors came to Florida in January-March and 1,125,300 Floridians are employed in the tourism industry. This represents the largest quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 26.2 million in Q1 2013. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q1 2014 was also a record high, up 3.5 percent from the same period in 2013.
"Coming off of three consecutive record years for visitation and employment, and experiencing the largest first quarter for the industry in our state's history, proves the power of tourism as a way to sustain Florida's economic growth," said Will Seccombe, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO. "With Florida tourism maintaining this type of strong momentum, we are well on our way to welcoming 100 million visitors and making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world."
While increased investment in tourism is understandably creating new tourism-related jobs, the additional 37,000 non-tourism related jobs created are in industries such as retail trade, administrative services, construction, and transportation and warehousing. The additional marketing investment by the Florida Legislature, along with important investments by private-sector companies in Florida in both facilities and marketing have helped created these new jobs.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
Governor Rick Scott said, "We made a goal to welcome 100 million visitors to Florida this year, and thanks to our investments in the tourism industry, we are well on our way to achieving that goal. Every 85 visitors to Florida equals one job in our state, which is why our "It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget" continues our investments by committing $74 million to VISIT Florida. Let's keep working to bring more visitors and more jobs to Florida."
Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said, "Even as Florida's economy sees job growth across industry sectors, tourism remains a critically important part of our future. After two record years of tourist visits to the Sunshine State, we are on pace to reach Governor's Scott's goal of welcoming 100 million visitors in 2015. This trend, combined with many other positive economic indicators, shows that Florida's economy is resurgent."
Florida TaxWatch is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 34-year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens' hard-earned tax dollars. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Florida and public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida state and local government. Its support comes from homeowners and retirees, small and large businesses, philanthropic foundations, and professional associations. On the web at www.FloridaTaxWatch.org.