Every year, millions of people visit Tampa Bay and carry home great memories, building our reputation as a travel destination. The hotels they stay in, the restaurants where they eat, and the souvenirs they buy all contribution billions of dollars to the community’s wealth. Tourism is an economic engine that runs 24/7.
Some of those visitors fall so much in love with our welcoming, creative community that they move here – contributing their own vision and talent for the betterment of our their new community. We’re seeing it in places like historic Ybor City, built a century ago by the cigar industry and now home to a growing tech sector. We’re seeing it in downtown, where billions of dollars in new investment will redraw the city map, reshape its skyline, and expand its economic base. We’re seeing it in the University of South Florida, where faculty regularly makes break-throughs in engineering, medicine, and science.
From the moment Don Vicente Martinez Ybor brought his cigar business to Tampa Bay in 1885, this has been a community that makes things. The energetic entrepreneurial spirit remains on display every day in the creativity of its chefs, the endless varieties of its craft beer, the fun of monthly Fourth Fridays on the Tampa Riverwalk, the reinvention of historic buildings for new uses, and the growing tech sector taking root among century-old cigar shops in historic Ybor City.
Visit Tampa Bay relishes its role of telling our community’s story to the world. Because, in the end, whether you come to Tampa Bay for a short stay or the long haul, you’ll find what we all have found to be true here: Treasure awaits. That’s why Visit Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County, and the Tampa Hills borough Economic Development Corporation have joined forces to launch MakeItTampaBay.com, a new web portal that unites tourism and economic development to showcase the region’s untapped potential and unparalleled quality of life. The project is built around stories, videos, and an ad campaign that mirrors Visit Tampa Bay’s award-winning Florida’s Most campaign. That approach means the region’s varied economic development organization with a single voice
Make It Tampa Bay encompasses the myriad experiences that make this a superior place to invest in a start-up, relocate a facility or plant the flag of a corporate headquarters. It’s about more than the excellent cost of living and the high quality of life. It’s about tens of thousands of openings for high-skilled, high-wage positions. It’s about Port Tampa Bay, the largest commercial port in Florida. It’s about award-winning Tampa International Airport’s dynamic growth in both service and size. It’s about the interstates and bridges that knit three million people into a single community. It’s about the daring spirit of Gasparilla, the 110-year-old Mardi Gras-style pirate festival. And it’s about Tampa Bay’s rank as the No. 1 choice for relocation.
But it’s also about Tampa Bay’s open-armed embrace of generations of Cubans, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Jews, and others that has created a community unlike any other in Florida or the world. Throw out your melting pot metaphor. This culture is embodied by Tampa Bay’s favorite food: the Cuban sandwich. Unpack one of these local pressed delicacies and discover Cuban bread, mojo pork, ham, salami, mustard and pickles — Tampa Bay’s unique blend in every bite.
This community’s rich mix of culture, economics, and opportunity provides fertile ground where an inspired idea can thrive and grow when a company decides to Make It Tampa Bay.