Florida Tourism Hits $112 Billion


TALLAHASSEE — In 2016, out-of-state visitor spending in Florida reached a record $112 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, the state’s tourism promotion arm, Visit Florida, said Wednesday.
Visitors contributed $88 billion, or roughly 10 percent, of Florida’s total gross domestic product, up 4.2 percent over 2015, and they generated $11.6 billion in state and local taxes, up 3.3 percent.

Visitor spending directly supported 875,722 jobs in 2016 that earned Florida jobholders $27.9 billion in corresponding wages. The number of jobs supported by out-of-state visitor spending for Florida workers has grown by more than 140,000 since 2011 — growth of nearly 20 percent.
The figures are the latest available and are based on a study dated this month by Oxford Economics, a commercial unit affiliated with Oxford University.
“It is great news that Florida has reached yet another tourism record with a historic $112 billion in visitor spending in 2016,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release. “Florida’s tourism industry helps support more than 1.4 million jobs across our state and is a major driver in our growing economy.
“I look forward to working with the Legislature this session to secure $100 million for Visit Florida so we can continue to market our state as the top tourism destination in the world.”
Lawmakers last year balked at Scott’s budget request for the agency, criticizing contracts with a rapper and a motorsports team.

“We are continuing to set visitation records in Florida, and new economic indicators show that Visit Florida’s marketing is working,” Visit Florida President and CEO Ken Lawson said. “We hope to continue building on this success by receiving full funding this upcoming year as we work to make Florida the number one global destination.”
Lodging represented the largest visitor spending sector, at $31.8 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2015. Visitor spending growth in the food and beverage sector accounted for $23 billion, growing 4.2 percent, and visitors spent more than $16 billion in recreational activities, a 3.6 percent increase.

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