Tourism brings big bucks to River City

Study shows tourism one of the largest industries in northeast Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tourism in Jacksonville is a big source of revenue for the city according the results of an economic impact study.

Visit Jacksonville said sales generated by tourism brought in more than $2 billion dollars in 2013.

Tourism and hospitality leaders said the information found in the study of tourism in Jacksonville in 2013 should serve as a guide for the future, and that it shows tourism is one of the largest industries in Northeast Florida.

"The economic impact study really shows for our community and something I think people here probably already know, but it is a vital and growing component of the Jacksonville economy," said Visit Jacksonville Board Chairman, Bill Prescott.

Tourism and hospitality leaders got together to announce the news at the Jacksonville Zoo Tuesday. They said the tourism industry in Duval County supports more than 20,000 jobs and is growing faster than Duval County's overall employment.

"Direct and indirect spending impact for our community in 2013 totaled $2.2 billion in just Jacksonville and the beach community. To put that in perspective, if you take the fortune 500 companies in Florida, one of them had net income close to $2.2 billion," said Prescott.

Prescott said the First Coast's water access is huge in drawing people here.

Jacksonville has more river and ocean coastline then any city in the country. He also touts the 80,000 acres of park in Duval County; Also more than any other city in the U.S.

"When it comes to eco-tourism and the ability to explore and enjoy the outdoors, no one can touch Jacksonville," said Prescott.

Tourism leaders said the revenue is huge.

"I am concerned about our taxpayers and it's good to see that tourism in our area generated $180 million in state and local taxes last year with $93 million going to local taxing authorities," said Tourism Development Council President, Bill Gulliford.

A strategy that came out of the survey to keep things at this pace is a new campaign called "bring it home, Jax."

The initiative will rely on people who live here spreading the word to friends and family that this is a great place to hold a convention or to vacation.

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