PETER CRANIS: Tourism in Brevard Will Come Back Stronger Than Ever, it Will Just Take Some Time

By  //  May 6, 2020

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it will still be some time before TDT collection see $16 million again

“I believe we will come back stronger than ever, it will just take some time,” said Space Coast tourism leader Peter Cranis. “The Space Coast is an amazing travel destination with so many things to offer. And the space program differentiates us from all other beach destinations. Where else can you go to a beautiful beach and watch a rocket launch?”

Tourism’s Impact Felt Far and Wide on the Space Coast

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Anyone living on the Space Coast probably knows someone who works in the tourism industry, at least before COVID-19. Now, like many other businesses that have been affected, tourism is hurting and so are the people that work in it – or used to.

In a recent study published by Rockport Analytics, 28,000 jobs could be attributed to tourism in 2018.

This represents 10.6 percent of all jobs in Brevard County and puts tourism 4th behind only healthcare, retail and manufacturing.

But what are the potential losses from the many businesses that were shut down, or negatively impacted by COVID-19. Well, tourism spending was estimated at $1.8 billion in 2018 in the study.

This resulted in over $400 million in local, state and federal taxes being paid.

Additionally, the Tourist Development Tax that is charged on all short term rentals 6 months or less (hotels/motels, vacation rentals, campgrounds, etc.) is estimated to drop from $16 million in 2019 to $10 million in 2020 according to Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Peter Cranis.

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“The impact on tourism by COVID-19 not only effects our budget, but it has negatively impacted hotels, retail stores, attractions, restaurants and anywhere else tourists patronize – this impact will be felt for years to come,” Cranis said.

The total visitor spending and wages in Brevard is nearly $2.6 billion. If business is down 30-40 percent, which is what tourism officials are estimating, that could be a loss in the $1 billion range.

That is not only losses to business income and employee wages, but in taxes that benefit all residents in the form of roads and infrastructure.

While those losses are estimated for the current year of COVID-19, that does not include future years that will also feel the financial sting of the pandemic, or if the pandemic returns and we have to close businesses down again.

“The Space Coast is an amazing travel destination with so many things to offer. And the space program differentiates us from all other beach destinations. Where else can you go to a beautiful beach and watch a rocket launch?” NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:32 p.m. EDT May 27, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. (NASA image)

For every $1 generated by tourist spending, 66 cents is returned to the local economy.

The loss of that revenue is going to be a hangover felt by businesses and workers for many years to come. Right now economists estimate that it may take from 18 months up to 3 years before former business levels return.

For the last decade, tourism had a great run. From 2010 when the TDT collection hovered around $8 million to 2019 when it topped $16 million, there was an unprecedented growth of over 100 percent.

Now 40 percent of that is being given back in 1 year. While there may be pent up demand for travel, it will still be some time before TDT collection see $16 million again.

“I believe we will come back stronger than ever, it will just take some time,” Cranis said.

“The Space Coast is an amazing travel destination with so many things to offer. And the space program differentiates us from all other beach destinations. Where else can you go to a beautiful beach and watch a rocket launch?”

So as businesses begin to open up again and workers are re-hired and brought back to work, remember that the return of tourists is something that benefits every resident, not just those in tourism.

In fact, if it weren’t for taxes generated by tourists, every household in Brevard would have to pay an additional $364 a year to make up the difference.

Good reason to support all those businesses and welcome the tourists back with open arms – albeit while social distancing.

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