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Report: crisis will be big hit to region's tourism sector

Report says Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater region will be hit especially hard by COVID-19 crisis.

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  • | 2:00 p.m. April 23, 2020
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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The disastrous financial effects of the COVID-19 crisis are being felt around the globe. But new research from a local agency reveals the economies of Florida and the Tampa Bay region, in particular, will be among the hardest hit. 

In an April 21 report, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council says Florida’s heavy reliance on tourism and hospitality, as well as its dependence on sales tax, will exacerbate the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Economic losses related to COVID-19 deaths, a statewide drop in consumer spending and a national recession are the three main factors that will negatively affect Florida’s economy during and after the pandemic, the council states. A decline in consumer spending will be acutely felt in Tampa Bay, the report adds, because tourism and hospitality are such powerful economic drivers. 

Tampa Bay’s total employment base is 2 million, so a loss of 218,000 jobs would be a 10.6% decline, the council reports. 

Prior to the pandemic, the region’s 2020 GDP was forecast to be $179 billion. An 11.7% drop would represent $20.9 billion in lost GDP. 

Likewise, before the COVID-19 crisis, the region’s total personal income for 2020 was predicted to be $187 billion. A loss of $19.9 billion equates to a 10.6% drop. 

The full report — which is based on data from the World Health Organization, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and the Brookings Institute — can be read at


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