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Vacation rentals boosted Florida economy by $27B in 2018

$46 million a day in direct spending.

A year ago, Florida Realtors commissioned a report on the economic impact of vacation rentals in the Sunshine State. On Monday, the University of Central Florida released the results.

The top line of the report shows the vacation rental industry provides 115,000 jobs and boosts the state economy by more than $27 billion — $16.6 billion in direct spending and $10.8 billion in indirect spending,

“Floridians have long-known that the state’s vacation home rental industry has a significant impact on our economy, but the numbers in this report are simply staggering,” said Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of Sarabay Suncoast Realty Inc. in Bradenton.

“More than $27 billion a year is a substantial contribution to our economy, and the 115,000 jobs it supports are critical to the well-being of many of our communities.”

To put those numbers in perspective, the industry generates 312 jobs statewide every day, 13 jobs every hour, and one job every 5 minutes.

As far as direct spending, that’s nearly $46 million a day and about $1.9 million every hour reverberating through the state’s economy.

“Many thanks to UCF for their time, effort and expertise in constructing this valuable report. Given the vital importance of vacation rentals to our economy, I truly hope policymakers and stakeholders consider this information as they deliberate on measures that could impact the industry,” Grooms said.

The UCF report surveyed  6,240 tourists, 1,748 vacation rental homeowners and 143 vacation rental home management companies.

The report focuses on 25 Florida counties: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Volusia and Walton.

The research shows that when combined, these 25 counties include 89.3 percent of the total amount of registered vacation rental homes like Airbnbs and condos in the state of Florida.

UCF pegged the number of tourists staying in vacation rental homes in Florida at 14,233,274 in 2018. The total works out to 11.2% of the 127 million tourists who visited the Sunshine State in 2018.

“Having fresh vacation rental industry data at our fingertips affords the industry and elected officials the opportunity to make informed and data-driven decisions about public policy which is critical here in the state of Florida,” said Denis Hanks, executive director of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association.

For the past several Legislative Sessions, lawmakers have considered legislation that would preempt the patchwork of local vacation rental rules and replace it with a statewide regulatory framework.

This year, the House plan (HB 1011) has cleared two committee stops. The Senate companion (SB 1128) earned an OK from the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee last month and is scheduled to go before the Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jan

    February 10, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Next, they should commission a study on what VOLUNTEERS – i.e. residents – contribute to Florida. What happens when residents are driven away, because all the houses are investor-owned rentals, which is what the bills proposed by Fischer and Diaz will accomplish.

    There will be no people to fill the jobs (it’s been shown that short-term rentals remove housing stock), no reason for hospitals (except for sudden illness/emergencies), no schools, many fewer churches, and no neighborhoods. Places like auto sales, hairdressers, etc. will close. And, when there is a hurricane, who will fill up all those short-term rentals? No one will be here. Is that what we want for our state?

    Take a look at Sedona, Arizona for a cautionary tale. Their city is now 30% short-term rentals!!! – and growing (they passed a bill in 2016 that is similar to the one Fischer and Diaz are proposing). They are now scrambling to try and undo all the damage the Arizona bill wreaked upon the state.

    Those of you who live here and vote better contact your representatives as soon as you read this – one of these terrible bills will be heard in the last regular Senate committee tomorrow, and the other one has one more committee to go in the House. It’s now or never, voters and residents.

    Keep local control! Keep in mind this bill rolls back any regulations over short-term rentals way back to 2011. At that point, Airbnb and companies like it were barely a blip on the screen. Now they are taking over the state – Airbnb’s $1.25 million contribution to our Florida legislators didn’t hurt, either.

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