FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2024
For Destinations Florida: Jennifer Fennell, (850) 597-0057, email@example.com
For Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association: Ashley Chambers, (254) 715-9040, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tallahassee, Fla. – Over the next week, representatives of Florida’s tourism and hospitality industry will promote the value of tourism and tourism promotion during “Florida Tourism Days: Seven Days of Sunshine,” which includes events, a social media campaign, and visits with lawmakers in Tallahassee to discuss legislative priorities. Tourism and hospitality are the state’s number one industry, the economic engine of our state, a top employer, and a source of revenue that benefits communities across Florida.
Florida’s tourism and hospitality industry have a significant impact on state and local economies, as well as Florida’s job market. According to a recent study commissioned by VISIT FLORIDA:
- In 2022, travelers spent a record $124.9 billion, outpacing 2021 by nearly $20 billion.
- For every dollar spent by the 137.4 million visitors in 2022, 97 cents were retained in the Florida economy.
- On average, visitors contribute $333 million per day to Florida’s economy.
- Florida tourism raised a total of $35.2 billion in taxes, $18.9 billion in federal tax revenue, $8.1 billion in Florida state tax revenue, and $8.2 billion in local tax receipts.
- Tourism-supported employment surpassed its pre-pandemic peak by 422,000 jobs, growing to 2 million jobs, with direct employment making up 66 percent of the total at 1.3 million jobs.
- Travel and tourism generated $73 billion in wages for Florida workers in 2022.
Welcoming visitors to our state also provides benefits to residents. Thanks to tourism and the revenue tourism generates:
- Florida residents do not pay a state income tax, making Florida one of only eight states without a state income tax.
- Every Florida household saves $1,840 a year on state and local taxes.
- Communities can provide critical services residents rely on, such as education, public safety, infrastructure, and environmental programs.
Here’s what Florida tourism and hospitality leaders are saying regarding legislation impacting the tourism and hospitality industry:
Bill Lupfer, President & CEO, Florida Attractions Association
“VISIT FLORIDA does an excellent job promoting our state as a whole to potential visitors, but local tourism promotion is essential to bringing visitors to the various destinations throughout the state. We need local tourism promotion, funded through Tourist Development Taxes, to bring visitors to our members’ gates and to keep industry professionals employed. We strongly oppose any expansion of the uses of Tourist Development Taxes.”
Malinda Horton, Executive Director, Florida Association of Museums
“Tourist Development Taxes were established to ensure counties had a dedicated funding source for the tourism promotion efforts necessary to create jobs and generate local revenue. They not only help our members attract out-of-town visitors to our museums and other arts and cultural experiences, but they also ensure those institutions are available for residents to enjoy. To keep these travel offerings available to residents and visitors alike, we need to not make any changes to the current permissible uses of Tourist Development Taxes.”
Carol Dover, President/CEO, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
“The strength of Florida’s tourism and hospitality industry ensures that Florida remains a premier destination for visitors and that our state expands its economic vitality. We will continue to work with legislators to champion the needs of our members and the broader hospitality community to promote job creation, retain and attract a diverse workforce, improve and simplify business processes, and support tourism promotion. Together, we can build a resilient and vibrant industry that not only meets the expectations of travelers but also contributes significantly to Florida’s economic prosperity.”
Bobby Cornwell, President and CEO, Florida RV Park and Campground Association
“Tourism is the lifeblood of Florida’s economy. It is a major source of revenue for the state and for local communities. Maintaining a strong tourism industry will ensure these revenue streams will continue to support our state and local counties’ budgets. The only way to do that is to continue to fund state tourism promotion through VISIT FLORIDA and local tourism promotion through Tourist Development Taxes.”
Robert Skrob, Executive Director, Destinations Florida
“Tourism is one of the reasons Florida is such a great place to live, work, and play because it helps keep the tax base low for residents. We don’t pay a state income tax and we save more than $1,800 in state and local taxes each year. Local tourism promotion, which is funded through Tourist Development Taxes, is instrumental in bringing these visitors to our destinations. It is imperative that we maintain the current permissible uses of Tourist Development Taxes.”
Dana Young, President and CEO, VISIT FLORIDA
“VISIT FLORIDA is proud to work with our valued partners and industry associations across the state to promote Florida’s Sunshine throughout the world. Florida’s Tourism Industry is the heartbeat of our state’s economy, with visitors having an economic impact of $121.5 Billion throughout the state, and by working together we can ensure that Florida remains the #1 destination for visitors.”