> VISIT TAMPA BAY
UNLOCK TAMPA BAY. TREASURE AWAITS.
UNLOCK TAMPA BAY. TREASURE AWAITS.
The heart of Florida’s west coast beats in Tampa Bay. Visit Tampa Bay encourages adventurous travelers to unlock sun, fun and culture in Florida’s most diverse travel destination. As a not-for-profit corporation certified with distinction by Destinations International’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP), Visit Tampa Bay works with hundreds of partners to tell the world the story of Tampa Bay. Its mission is to create vibrant economic development for the community by collaboratively increasing visitation to the destination.
Underlining the importance of the hospitality industry in its local economy, an annual economic impact report by industry analyst Tourism Economics, reveals that tourism accounted for pumping $6.9 billion into Hillsborough County’s bottom line in 2019, a 67% increase in the last decade.
The independent study by Tourism Economics is part of the destination marketing organization’s annual review of the economic impact of tourism on the local economy. The report revealed an increase in visitor spending, hotel occupancy, revenue, employment and overall visitation, which reached an all-time high with more than 24.5 million. In 2019, the industry supported more than 54,000 jobs, generated $2.5 billion in total wages and saved every household $840 in state and local taxes.
While 2020 obviously had a massive impact on the hospitality industry, the Tampa Bay region was highlighted by Forbes as the one destination in the country that is spearheading the recovery and its innovative marketing and sales efforts are industry leading. Consequently, the region was the most visited destination of the year.
Visit Tampa Bay is committed to telling the destination’s story from a leisure and meetings perspective with a key message – Tampa Bay’s hospitality is as warm as it’s weather.
Tampa Bay’s remarkable growth is seen across the board from the Tampa Riverwalk that links downtown Tampa’s top attractions along a glistening waterfront to Sparkman Wharf, Tampa Bay’s favorite waterfront food hall with incredible artwork and mouthwatering delights. New hotels, including the J.W. Marriott, are emerging in downtown and are opening the door to luxury amenities and pedestrian-friendly offerings.
World-class attractions are consistently adding new reasons to visit to both visitors and residents. Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay will open hybrid coaster Iron Gwazi and across the street, guests can take the plunge and beat the heat at Busch Gardens’ water park, Adventure Island, on the new Solar Vortex ride. Animal lovers can also venture through the native Florida Wetlands Trail exhibit at The Florida Aquarium or learn about the new Manatee Critical Care Center at ZooTampa where rescued Florida manatees are nursed back to health.
Tampa Bay’s historic Latin quarter, Ybor City, is brimming with history and culture. From the new Hotel Haya to the centuries-old brick-lined streets, Ybor City tells the story of the once Cigar Capital of the World and home to Florida’s oldest restaurant, The Columbia Restaurant. The smell of fresh Cuban bread and café con leche linger in the air as travelers embark on a journey to the past at old cigar factories like the new J.C.Newman Cigar Company museum or the historic Jose Marti Park, which is still owned by the people of Cuba. Ybor City also tells the story of Tampa Bay’s diversity. It was home to Spanish, Cuban, Sicilian and German immigrants that worked in the cigar factories and inspired the layers of the famous Cuban Sandwich.
Whether travelers are coming with family, friends or colleagues, Tampa Bay is where treasure awaits and Visit Tampa Bay is committed to helping each visitor unlock those discoveries in Florida’s Most exciting destination.