SARASOTA, Fla. (February 18, 2020) – A new report commissioned by Florida Realtors® reveals that Sarasota and Manatee’s vacation rental industry contributes $457 million annually to the local economy. Conducted by the University of Central Florida, the study reveals the 2018 direct economic contribution of Florida’s vacation home industry and its impact across the state.

“Floridians have long-known that the state’s vacation rental industry has a significant impact on our economy, but the numbers in this report are simply staggering,” says Florida Realtors® president Barry Grooms, a Realtor® and co-owner of Sarabay Suncoast Realty Inc. in Bradenton. “More than $27 billion a year statewide is a substantial contribution to our economy, and the 115,000 jobs it supports are critical to the well-being of many of our communities.”

The report focuses on 25 Florida counties, including Sarasota and Manatee. The research shows that when combined, the two-county area accounts for 6.6 percent of the total amount of registered vacation rental homes in Florida.

Key findings for Sarasota and Manatee counties:

  • The 2018 economic impact of Sarasota and Manatee’s vacation rental home industry represents $457 million in direct spending.
  • Manatee County contributed $345 million in direct spending and Sarasota County contributed $112 million.
  • On average, an individual vacation rental tourist contributed $1,024 per trip in Manatee County. A total of 336,797 rental customers visited the area in 2018.
  • In Sarasota County, the average individual rental tourist contributed $1,162 per trip with a total of 96,207 rental customers.
  • The 2018 breakdown of direct spending per industry in the two-county area:
    • Restaurants: $66.6 million
    • Recreational Activities: $20.2 million
    • Fishing/Beach & Water Activities: $21.7 million
    • Retail Shopping/Groceries: $68.7 million

Statewide findings:

  • The 2018 economic impact of Florida’s vacation rental industry represents $16.6 billion in direct spending and $10.8 billion in indirect spending, totaling $27.4 billion.
  • The direct spending amounts to nearly $46 million a day and approximately $1.9 million every hour reverberating through the state’s economy.
  • Overall, the industry generates 312 jobs statewide every day, 13 jobs every hour and one job every 5 minutes.

Florida’s vacation rental home industry is an important component of the lodging industry that contributes to the overall tourist experience as well as the economic contribution that the tourism industry is able to make to the state of Florida.

“Given the vital importance of vacation rentals to our economy, I truly hope policymakers and stakeholders consider this information as they deliberate on measures that could impact the industry,” adds Grooms.

The report was conducted by the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The data and conclusions provided in the report were generated from data received from the three primary stakeholders involved in the vacation rental home sector: homeowners, management companies and tourists/visitors.

In total, 6,240 tourists, 1,748 vacation rental homeowners and 143 vacation rental home management companies were surveyed. That survey data was then triangulated with data from Key Data, the Survey Center of the Bureau of Economic and Business Center, AirBnB, the Florida Tourist Development Tax Association Inc. (FTDTA), multiple county tax collectors’ offices, and the Florida Department of Revenue.

For a copy of the full report, visit UCF’s website. The UCF media release can also be found here.