Economic Report: Tourism on Pace to Set Records in 2016

Picture of Pensacola Beach, FL. Gulf Coast Tourism.
Dr. Rick Harper associate vice president for research and economic opportunity.
Dr. Rick Harper, associate vice president of research and economic opportunity.

In this week’s Economic Report on WUWF 88.1-FM, Dr. Rick Harper, vice president of research and economic opportunity at the University of West Florida, discusses how Gulf Coast tourism is shaping up in 2016.

According to a report from the governor’s office, Florida’s tourism business is booming and on pace to reach record levels in 2016. 29.8 million visitors came to the state in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 4.8 percent. The tourism industry employed 1,231,100 Floridians in the first quarter of this year – up 3.8 percent from the same period in 2015.

“Clearly, because of higher household incomes – take home pay is increased when gas prices are relatively low and it’s cheaper to vacation – Florida is benefiting from this,” Harper said. “The jobs market is also improved, so as unemployment falls and people have more job opportunities, they may be more comfortable with their opportunities to take a vacation.”

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