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Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Tourism a top industry in Florida

Tourism jobs in Florida are among the top in the state and country, and it is expected job openings in the industry will continue to grow.

In 2007, there were 991,300 people directly employed by the Florida tourism industry. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics notes in May 2008, the Florida leisure and hospitality industry had grown by 1.8 percent over the previous year.

The State of Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation notes in 2007, the state's leisure and hospitality industry employed 922,676 people, and that number is expected to reach 1,092,314 by 2015, an increase of 2.3 percent. In particular, the Orlando area employs many tourism workers.

In Orlando, a popular tourist destination, some of the largest employers are in the tourism industry, including: Fun Spot, Sea World, Silver Springs, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, Westgate Resorts and Wonder Works.

About 76.8 million people visited Florida in 2004, making it the top travel destination in the world. Tourism brings in about $57 billion to the state's economy.

According to Visit Florida, 23.8 million people visited Florida during the first quarter of 2008, a 3.4 percent increase. In 2007, tourists spent $65.5 billion and the state received $3.9 billion in sales tax revenue from tourists.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Econ South report notes Florida's tourism and hospitality employment grew by 4.6 percent from the third quarter of 2006 to the third quarter of 2007. Most of the growth was in food service restaurants and amusement parks. Taxable tourism-related sales were up 2.8 percent, and hotels and the Orlando International Airport saw surges as well.

"Rebounding international traffic, stimulated by the relatively weak U.S. dollar, explains some of this increase because a weaker dollar relative to many other currencies makes U.S. tourist destinations more financially attractive for international travelers," the site states.

The tourism industry in Florida shouldn't slow down any time soon, according to the FRBA's report. While domestic tourism may slow down because of the housing market, international tourism should remain strong.

"If the dollar remains relatively weak, Florida's tourism industry will benefit in 2008," the site adds. "More Canadian and overseas tourists will likely take advantage of a favorable exchange rate to visit the Sunshine State. Typically, foreign visitors stay longer and spend more money than domestic tourists."

The BLS states nationwide, the leisure and hospitality industry employed 13,723,000 people as of June 2008. In May 2008, there were 603,000 job openings and 1,146,000 people were hired. In 2007, 2.8 percent of those in the industry were union members and 3.2 percent were represented by unions.

The BLS notes in June 2008, the average hourly wage for those in the industry was $10.88 at an average of 25.4 hours per week. In 2007, full-time workers received a median weekly salary of $440, union members received $580, those represented by unions received $572 and non-union members received $431.


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