Visit St. Pete/Clearwater estimates the destination welcomed about 14.9 million visitors to the destination in 2021. About a third of those visitors stayed in overnight lodging, but contributed more than $4 billion directly to the economy - which is more than 75% of the total direct visitor spending to the economy!
While traffic congestion and crowds can underline the negative impacts, it's important to remember the following benefits of tourism in Florida and St. Pete/Clearwater:
- No State Income Tax, saving Floridians on average up to $3,000 per year (compared to averages in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.)
- 90,000 local jobs supported in Pinellas County in 2021
- $2.9 billion in wages paid to tourism-relate jobs in Pinellas County in 2021
- More than $9 billion in total visitor spending in 2021
Put another way - it’s very likely one of your neighbors or friends is employed by tourism as it employs 1 in every 10 people in St. Pete/Clearwater. And if you enjoyed a spring training baseball game, the St. Pete Pier, a local museum, attraction or even the local beaches, then you visited a place that was created or supported by tourism dollars from visitors staying over night in the destination. In fact, much of the infrastructure and beaches that exist in our destination would not be here without the support of tourism.
So the importance of tourism in Pinellas County is clear. But how should the power of this economic driver continue to shape the destination? Join us for conversations about the role tourism will play in the future.