By: Eric Wright
The Space Coast has both aggressively and successfully diversified its economy in a way that is the envy of other areas in the state. Along with our burgeoning private technology and manufacturing sector, tourism is still one of our primary drivers and reasons our economy is so robust and resilient. Recently, the EDC began working with the Space Coast Tourism Development Council to link talent attraction for jobs to our tourism messaging, a sort of, “If you love to visit here, why not live and work here?”
Regionally, tourism creates 423,000 jobs, with an economic impact that exceeds $65 billion annually. What is more, the region hosted more than 68 million visitors.
With 72 miles of beaches, beautiful inland waterways, one of the world’s largest cruise ports and the iconic Kennedy Space Center, the Space Coast is a natural tourist attractor. The attraction is not only strong for out of state vacationers, but also for Central Florida residents who want to get away for a weekend excursion or a day at the beach.
When you add all of this up, the impact of tourism is staggering. I refer, of course, to the cascading effect the tourism industry has on the community. It ranges from being the impetus for infrastructure improvements to providing amenities that local residents enjoy as much as visitors.
Positive Economic Benefit
• Tourism represents 26,000 jobs on the Space Coast.
• Kennedy Space Center had 1,660,105 visitors in 2016.
• The economic impact of tourism in Brevard County is more than $2.1 billion in direct visitor spending.
• Tax revenues that come from tourism total $96.8 million in local tourism-related taxes.
• Port Canaveral is the home port of eight (8) cruise ships.
• In 2016, 3.9 million people went on cruises that embarked from Port Canaveral for an average of 325,000 per month.
• The Tourist Development Tax [5 percent on lodging] generated $12,822,622 in fiscal year 2016 and is projected to be $14 million in fiscal year 2017.
• There are 8,846 hotel rooms in Brevard County.
Tourism has and continues to be the Golden Goose, which if we nurture, will continue to attract future residents, while also bringing quality lifestyle and benefits to everyone in Brevard.