Visitors generate a significant economic impact to Collier County, and that number increases every year.

In 2016, more than 1.8 million tourists visited Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades, resulting in more than $21 million in tourist tax revenue, over $126 million in sales and gas taxes, and $1.98 billion in visitor spending – critical revenue paying for services we all rely on including education, transportation, infrastructure and public safety.

Those are huge numbers, but what do visitors mean for our residents? For starters, more money in our hard-earned paychecks every month. Tourism is such an enormous economic driver for Florida, that we don’t have to pay a personal income tax, unlike other states such as California, with rates as high as 13.3 percent. Visitors also pay sales and gas taxes, and Collier County homeowners saved $988 in taxes last year, thanks to those visitor tax contributions.

Businesses large and small benefit from tourism, too, and the positive effects span many industries outside of hospitality. Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, bakeries, boutiques and other businesses all reap the benefits from increased visitation to our county.

Our overnight guests pay a tax on their hotel room or short-term rental property, and in 2016 that revenue totaled more than $21.8 million! The majority of that revenue helps beautify our beaches and beach parks, making them a better place to enjoy, swim, play or relax with a good book. In 2016, $7.6 million of tourist tax revenue funded beach and inlet projects. Another portion is dedicated to operating our museums frequently visited by both visitors and residents to educate ourselves and our children. In 2016, tourists’ tax dollars generated $1.9 million to operate our five county museums. If we didn’t have the growing number of visitors, we would not have enough money to improve our beaches or fund our museums – so, residents like us would have to pay for those amenities.

Visitor spending also benefits some unexpected businesses. While food, beverage and lodging are large contributors to visitor offerings, retail, recreation and transportation also receive a significant chunk of revenue from our visitors.

Our county’s population continues to grow each year, so it’s important to ensure residents have access to a network of reliable, high-paying jobs. Thanks to the hospitality industry, 37,500+ Collier County citizens are employed – think hotel pastry chefs, accountants at a restaurant, sales managers for top resorts and more.

The numbers speak for themselves – Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades Tourism works for me.

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