Report: Florida Tourism Thriving, Creating More Jobs

Tourism was a big job creator in Florida in 2013, according to a report released Monday from Florida TaxWatch.

Nearly 76,000 jobs were generated in the state because of investment in the tourism sector, the report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute revealed. Of those, 38,389 were tourism-related jobs and another 37,382 were indirectly created non-tourism jobs.

Overall, about 1.09 million Floridians were employed in the tourism industry in 2013, up from 1.06 million in 2012, according to data from Visit Florida, the state's official tourism marketing corporation.

Florida had 94.3 million visitors last year, up from 91.5 million in 2012.

Given ongoing strong tourism performance, the state should meet its goal of 100 million visitors by 2015, Florida TaxWatch noted.

"Florida's thriving tourism industry provides extraordinary opportunities for economic growth," said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, in a statement. "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."

In South Florida, tourism also contributed to job growth in 2013.

Some 157,647 people were employed in the tourism industry in Broward County last year, up from 141,647 in 2012, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Broward had a record 13.4 million visitors in 2013 that spent $10.6 billion in the area.

In Palm Beach County, tourism supported 60,000 jobs last year, up from 45,000 in 2012, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the destination's official tourism marketer.

In 2013, the county celebrated a milestone with 6 million visitors, who generated $6.8 billion in economic impact in the area.

For 2014, the outlook for Florida tourism appears bright.

The state had a record first quarter with 26.7 million travelers -- its largest quarter for visitation ever, according to Visit Florida.

"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," Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe said.

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