Tourism industry fuels the economy – and careers

For many people, the biggest effect of tourism, seemingly, is seeing more cars on the road with out-of-state license plates. It can be hard living in the middle of someone else’s vacation.

While tourism may impact a community’s quality of life, it has an even greater impact on the community’s pocketbooks.

Travel supports one in ten private-sector jobs, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That works out to nearly 16 million people––making travel the 7th largest private-sector employer.

In a state loaded with tourist attractions and miles and miles of sandy beaches, tourism is even more important. And so are efforts to attract vacationers and business travelers.

Marketing programs conducted by local tourism agencies and at the state level are an important piece of the tourism industry. They provide a wide variety of support to bring more attention to destinations across the state, including financial assistance.

The public-private partnerships created through local tourism development offices and tourism industry businesses provide the foundation for successful tourist development efforts. Those efforts pump sales tax dollars back into the community while also creating jobs.

Many of those jobs become the foundation for successful careers in the tourism industry and beyond.

Nearly a quarter of Americans got their first job in the travel industry, according to the U.S. Travel Association. One-third of people whose first job was in the travel sector earn a bachelor’s degree and two out of five of people with a first job in travel now earn more than $100,000 a year.

If you add international travel into the mix, travel and tourism has a national impact and is the country’s second-largest industry export after transportation equipment because money foreign visitors spend in the United States is considered export income.

It is easy to take the travel industry for granted, despite being Florida’s largest industry. Living in this field of dreams, it is obvious why people want to visit. But they will only come if we build – and support – a viable tourism industry.

Tourism is about more than the big theme parks and major attractions that draw millions of visitors to Florida. It’s also about the beachside cafes and surf shops and small motels up and down State Road A1A. It’s about the ecotourism businesses that bring people up close to the natural beauty of the Sunshine State.

Rather than complain about the influx of tourists and crowds at the beach, it might be better to remember they are only visiting. We get to live here.