Our Beaches Beckon

Our Beaches BeckonEmerald Coast visitors keep coming back for more

The Travel Industry Association reports that tourism generated as much as $1.3 trillion in the United States in 2008. According to Visit Florida, 82.5 million visitors traveled to the Sunshine State in 2008, spending $65.2 billion. Florida’s hospitality industry lays claim to a work force of 1 million — nearly 11 percent of the total workers in the state. In Walton County, 21.7 percent of the total work force is rolling out the red carpet to 2.8 million visitors who flock to the beach each year. Not only do visitors come, but like the sea turtles who share these famous beaches, they come back — again and again.

The return rate to the string of 15 beach distinctive beach communities called the Beaches of South Walton is a staggering 93 percent. Where are they coming from? The map above offers a snapshot of the top feeder markets to the area in 2000 and 2010. Source: Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council