Florida, known for its year-round sunny weather and iconic attractions like Disneyland and EPCOT, has long been a popular tourist destination. And though many people think of Miami and Orlando when planning a trip to Florida, Tampa is fast becoming one of the country's most popular getaway spots. The city has seen its tourism sector grow over the past few years, so we dove into the location analytics data to better understand these tourism trends.
Tampa Tourism on the Rise
Tampa has emerged as an attractive place for out-of-state home buyers and relocators in recent years – especially for younger generations looking to take advantage of the city’s status as an emerging tech hub as well as enjoy the pleasant climate and beautiful beaches. But examining foot traffic trends to Downtown Tampa also reveals Tampa’s growing popularity among out-of-state visitors.
Tampa International Airport – named the “best large airport in North America in 2023” – is growing fast, and visits to the Downtown Tampa POI from visitors coming from 250+ miles away were up almost every month of 2023, especially compared to pre-pandemic 2019. (Most places 250 miles or more outside Tampa are also outside Florida.) And although YoY foot traffic did dip some months, the drop was likely due to the comparison with a particularly strong 2022 that brought a record number of tourists to the Hillsborough County seat.
Swamped With Visitors
Diving into the demographic data of visitors traveling to Downtown Tampa from at least 250 miles away helps shed light on who is driving this domestic tourism surge.
Between 2019 and 2023, the share of households with children in the trade areas feeding out-of-state visits to downtown Tampa grew from 25.9% in 2019 to 27.1% in 2023. Similarly, the median household income (HHI) of visitors to the city’s downtown also increased from $85.1K/year to $91.8K/year. These shifts in visitor demographics suggest that at least some of the tourism surge to the city may be driven by families with children and wealthy families.
It seems, then, that Tampa is on the rise not just as a retirement hub or as a millennial and Gen-Z hotspot. The city is also attracting an increasingly larger share of affluent families with children, indicating that this rising Florida star with something for everyone may soar even higher in 2024.
With its pristine beaches and diverse attractions, Tampa has long boasted a robust tourism sector – and the city’s popularity has surged even higher post-pandemic. So far, 2024 looks promising for the city’s tourism segment. Will Tampa continue to attract vacationers and sight-seers?
Visit placer.ai/blog to find out.