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The economic impact of tourism is $10s of millions

By Tim Croft
The Star

The economic impact of tourism is $10s of millions 

Visit Florida recently provided some hard numbers to the claim that tourism is a major economic driver in Florida. 

In Gulf County, even with a hurricane late in the year, tourism created visitor spending of more than $144 million in 2018, with total business spending over $140 million. 

Business spending is the amount businesses in the tourism sector paid to suppliers. 

The most recent numbers available are from 2018.  

Breaking down the numbers a bit more, in 2018 visitors to Gulf County spent: 

*$45.4 million on lodging 

*$34.7 million on food and beverage 

*$25.6 million shopping 

*$22.4 million on ground transportation and  

*$16 million on entertainment or recreation. 

That adds up to $144.1 million, which was up 5.2 percent from 2017 when visitor spending topped $137 million; in 2016 visitors spent $123 million in Gulf County. 

In addition, in 2018 the tourism industry accounted for 32.4 percent, or 1,852, of all jobs in the county. 

Meanwhile, tourism generated $15.1 million in state and local taxes, including bed taxes, and $10.9 million in federal taxes. 

The Visit Florida analysis of local tourism also broke down business spending within the tourism industry, either direct, indirect or induced. 

Indirect spending captures impacts on non-tourism businesses which provide supplies to tourism businesses, such as restaurant supplies. 

Induced spending is that created by the spending of wages by employees in tourism business, such as at the grocery store. 

Tourism created $73.7 million on the county’s gross domestic product and $41.4 million in wages for local workers. 

The figures used in the analysis were based on spending by visitors during 2018, including domestic out-of-state visitors, international visitors and Florida residents who traveled at least 50 miles to a destination. 

The figures also include both day and overnight trips.