Vacation home rentals boost Florida’s economy by more than $27 billion annually

by Kerrie Kennedy

Florida’s vacation lodging industry – condos and Airbnbs as opposed to traditional hotels and resorts – injects more than $27 billion into the state’s economy annually, according to a new report by the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

“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.

Commissioned by Florida Realtors and conducted in partnership with the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, the report focused on more than 25 Florida counties (including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward), where the majority of vacation home rentals are located.

According to the report, Florida’s vacation home rental industry brings in $16.6 billion annually in direct spending and another $10.8 billion annually in indirect spending, which in turn supports an estimated 115,000 jobs.

In 2018, 127 million tourists visited Florida, and more than 14,000 of them stayed in vacation rental homes, said the report.

According to UCF Rosen College Associate Dean Robertico Croes, tourists who rent condos and homes tend to remain in the state longer and spend more money, an average of $1,000 per person.

“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.

The majority of the homeowner respondents (62 percent) said the purpose of their rental home investment was as a vacation home that is rented for a short time. Nearly 90 percent of the tourist respondents said they were “extremely satisfied” with their vacation rental home experience.

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