the economy of the City has been driven by the following major industries:
Navy, Fishing, Shipwreck Salvage, Sponging, Cigar Fabrication
||US Navy, Tourism and Development
Tourism is the City's primary generator of
local economic activity. In 2001, the City hosted 201,228 airport
passengers 85% of whom are estimated to be tourists and 676,881 cruise
About two of every three jobs in Key West
in 1990 were in the tourist driven retail trade and service sectors.
Almost half of all retail trade positions were in eating and drinking
establishments, and the professional and related category accounted for
half of all service positions. The economic base of the City, in
comparison to statewide averages, is very high in retail trade and public
administration employment and equally low in the manufacturing and
wholesales trade sectors.
Counting and monitoring
the level of tourists is not a precise science. There are indicators of
activity as depicted in the following line graphs. The first is a line
graph depicting the numbers of cruise ship passengers visiting the City.
This is the clearest indicator of one tourist element. It shows a seasonal
variation in activity and an increasing trend of cruise ship tourists. It
also depicts a drop in FY 00-01 due to the loss of a major cruise ship
line. A successful aggressive marketing program resulted in increased
volumes in FY 01-02. There was deep concern following 9/11 that a
significant reduction in cruise ship tourist activity would occur.
However, the opposite has been experienced as indicated by quarterly
activity in the last quarter of 2001 and the first and second quarters of
2002. Further, the linear trend line depicts a steady growth in the
numbers of ship passengers. This has caused some concern among citizens
and environmental groups seeking to recommend a balance between tourist
volume and the quality of the tourist experience and the environment.
Another indication of tourist volume is the
number of visitors to Fort Zachary Taylor. It is a pre civil war coastal
defense fort with a beach and has been converted into a State park. It is
a popular local resident and tourist attraction. Thus, visitor counts are
a partial indicator of tourist volume.
The graph below depicts visitor counts to
Fort Taylor by quarter and includes an historic volume trend line. It
shows a gradual increase in volume with a significant negative spikes
caused by Hurricane Georges in September 1998. Volumes did not show a drop
after 9/11. City tourist officials surmise that many tourists forsook
foreign travel for domestic destinations. Key West as the only Caribbean
island in the United States is a desired location. Fort Taylor is an
attractive beachfront location.
has proven to be a significant source of revenue for the economy and City
to view the full data workbook compiled by the COC, TDC and City Finance
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