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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.

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