Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary
Florida is the World's Port of Call
Florida Residents are keenly aware that tourism is an important economic engine providing power to the state economy, and several Florida TaxWatch publications provide economic data supporting this observation.1 Tourism is one of the top providers of jobs for Floridians and a serves as a major source of tax revenue for the state.
Notably, tourism is one of the few sectors that created jobs during the most recent recession in Florida. One segment of the tourism sector, the cruise industry, is uniquely suited to take advantage of Florida’s natural attributes. No other state or nation can boast the number of cruise lines, port proximity advantages, and welcoming culture that Florida offers.
Florida’s Cruise Ports
Seven Florida seaports (see map, third page) handle passenger movements by cruise ship, ferry, or day-cruise vessels. Passengers that use Florida’s ports travel most frequently to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Central America. While not the most popular destinations, several South American and Transatlantic options are also available from Florida’s ports. Recently, there has been a significant increase in one-day cruise passengers to destinations such as the Bahamas, especially from ports Canaveral, Everglades, Miami, and Palm Beach.
PortMiami, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral, the Sunshine State’s three most-visited cruise ports, are also the world’s most visited cruise terminals.2 The most visited of those, PortMiami, is currently home to eight cruise ships that collectively made 767 calls (a stop to pick up or discharge passengers or cargo, or to undergo repairs) in FY2012-13.3
Port Canaveral is home to seven year-round cruise ships at its seven cruise terminals, while Port Everglades is home to 12 cruise lines and has more home port cruise ships than any other port in the world.
1 See Florida TaxWatch Research Area: Tourism online.
2 Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council. “The Five-year Florida Seaport Mission Plan.” May 2014.