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Tourism in Jacksonville Generates $2.2 Billion in Annual Economic Impact

April 22, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The direct and indirect spending by visitors and tourists in Jacksonville and the beach cities generated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2013, according to research conducted by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics, and funded by the city’s destination marketing organization Visit Jacksonville.

Legian Beach Hotel-httpwww.legianbeachbaliAccording to Visit Jacksonville President and CEO Paul Astleford, the findings reveal that tourism is a vital component of the area’s economy today and point to the “tremendous potential the visitor and tourism industry can have on the future economic growth and development of the entire region.”

Astleford was joined by Visit Jacksonville Board Chairman Bill Prescott, North Florida Hotel & Lodging Association President Shawn Frisbee, and Jacksonville Tourism Development Council (TDC) President Bill Gulliford in announcing the findings recently during a news conference at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens — the area’s top tourist attraction with more than one million visitors annually.

“When direct and indirect spending impacts are accounted for, total tourism spending represented $2.2 billion in revenue in 2013 for Jacksonville and our beach cities,” Prescott said. “If employed by a single business, the 16,500 employees employed directly by the tourism industry would rank third in employment in Jacksonville — behind only NAS Jax and the Duval School System.”

Prescott added that when economic activity induced by visitors and tourism is included in those employment figures, “the number of direct and indirect tourism-supported jobs in Jacksonville swells to 22,000… jobs that span every sector of the local economy.”

The research marked the first tourism economic impact study to be conducted in Jacksonville since 2009.

“The study confirms what we’ve been experiencing the last couple of years — a steady rise in occupancy at our hotels, growth in overnight visits and a rise in the room rates,” said Frisbee, who provided perspective from the hospitality industry in Northeast Florida. “All of these are positive indicators in our industry. It also shows that the tourism industry is one sector of our economy that’s leading the way in Jacksonville’s steady economic recovery.”

The study found that tourism employment grew here by nearly six percent last year — about twice as fast as overall employment gains in Duval County.

“We’re excited to see that the TDC’s efforts to provide grant support to new and existing events is having a positive impact on our tourism numbers and on the economic vitality of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida,” Gulliford said. “Also, Visit Jacksonville should be commended for its sales and marketing efforts in promoting all the great things about our city, and for their recent successes in competing against other cities to bring meetings, conventions and major sporting events to Jacksonville.”

The entire report can be viewed on the Visit Jacksonville Website athttp://jax.s3.amazonaws.com/4601/jacksonville_visitor_economic_impact_jan_2014.pdf.

Astleford also announced a new visitor initiative, ‘Bring it Home, Jax!,’ in which area residents can get actively involved in the visitor and tourism industry.

“The ‘Bring it Home! Jax’ initiative gives all of us a chance to use our influence to recruit the groups and conventions we are involved with and get them to hold their future conventions right here in northeast Florida,” he said. “Our job at Visit Jacksonville is to make it easy for residents to attract and host those meetings right here in our hometown.”

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