Maintaining Momentum in 2014
In April of this year, Visit Orlando announced a record 59 million visitors in 2013, making Orlando the most-visited destination in the nation. With seven of the top 10 most-visited theme parks in the U.S., Daytona’s “World’s Most Famous Beach” and Port Canaveral’s cruise hub, the Central Florida region boasts some of the most well-known and beloved destinations in the country.
Everything In One Place
The region is unique in that it has everything to offer in one place. Theme parks draw tens of millions a year to the area, and they spread the wealth with visitors having the opportunity to include day trips to the beach, shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife. You won’t find another place in the U.S. or the world that has all that this region has to offer.
Additionally, the region has nationally recognized sporting events in Orlando, Tampa and Daytona that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly. Orlando hosts two nationally recognized football bowl games (Capital One Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl), the Daytona 500 is the crown jewel of the NASCAR season and Tampa continues to garner national attention by hosting the NFL’s top game on a rotational basis.
Social and Economic Benefits
Numerous benefits and rewards come from calling a tourist hub home – and it goes beyond the enviable weather and miles of coastline.
Orlando’s dining scene has become recognized globally for its diversity and excellence; entertainment and attractions provide an outlet for locals to spend their free time; and Orlando International Airport is one of the most affordable and acclaimed airports in the U.S. to travel to and from.
In Orlando alone, there are more than 380,000 individuals who are employed directly by the hospitality industry or have a job that is supported by the industry. From accountants to cooks, hotel managers to bankers and landscapers to real estate agents, the industry’s impact is spread among the community in places that most would not suspect.
By traveling to and staying in Orlando, visitors infuse more than $34 billion in spending, which equates to more than $54 billion in economic impact. Visitors also pay local sales taxes, which are then spread across the region through important projects, including infrastructure and schools.
Additionally, they pay tourist development taxes on the rooms that they rent. The majority of these taxes are used to pay for venues like the Orange County Convention Center, while a portion goes to Visit Orlando to market the destination globally. They are also used to help finance the local venue projects such as the Amway Center, the Florida Citrus Bowl, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Orlando City Soccer stadium. The benefit to local residents is that they pay less in their property taxes. Nine of the top 10 property taxpayers in Orange County are tourismrelated companies, and more than 20 percent of the property taxes levied in Orange County in 2013 were paid by tourismrelated businesses.
So whether it be the warm sunshine or the economic benefits that abound, Central Florida residents live in an area that many only aspire to visit. Orlando, and the Central Florida region as a whole, would not look as it does without the countless impacts of its visitors.
Tourism is a Home Run for the Region
The Central Florida region without tourism would be like the summer without baseball.
According to a recent article in Forbes, Major League Baseball sales are more than $8 billion a year — evidence of a clear and significant direct impact on the U.S. economy. Our nation’s pastime creates jobs and stimulates spending. On top of that, who doesn’t enjoy a day at the ball park with family or friends?
The same can be said of tourism in Central Florida. In Orlando alone, tourism generates $54 billion of economic impact annually and supports more than a third of all jobs. More than 59 million visitors traveled to Orlando in 2013, fueling hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that makes it possible for our area to have the quality of life it does without placing a heavy tax burden on our citizens.
Fewer tourists would equate to less demand for most products and services across our region – from seafood suppliers delivering fresh fish from the Space Coast to the thousands of restaurants that serve tourists, to the many beach resorts that welcome international visitors famous for combining theme park stays with beach visits during their two-week vacation in Central Florida.
It’s clear that tourism has significant impact from one Central Florida coast to the other. Without it, the world’s travelers would stay longer and spend more of their money elsewhere.
– George Aguel, President & CEO of Visit Orlando