Direct Economic Impact of Homosassa Springs: The Model
In Chapter 2 dealing with the economic importance of Ichetucknee Springs, we developed an economic model in which to calculate the spending, employment and wages generated by visitors coming from outside the area of economic impact. We wished to see how much economic activity and benefits are generated to the springs by having individuals visit the area (i.e., county) surrounding the park. The model is identical for all four springs considered in this report. The impact of visitors is based upon springs attendance and data generated from sampling visitors about their spending habits to the springs in question, and within the surrounding county. Spending or sales by these visitors were also broken down into the types of goods and services (i.e., industries) supported in the surrounding area by these purchases. Since the model or framework in which to develop these basic economic variables for the springs in question has been discussed in great detail in Chapter 2, we shall not repeat it here. We advise the reader to return to Chapter 2, if he/she has not read this chapter to get the exposition of the detailed model. A reader not interested in the technical model may skip Chapter 2 and find the numbers reflecting the sales (i.e., expenditures), wages and employment and a breakdown of the kinds of industries benefiting from such spending in and around Homosassa Springs State Park.
Estimation of the Direct Economic Impact of Homosassa Springs
During 2002 and 2003, a survey of visitors to Homosassa Springs State Park was initiated as a critical part of this study. Visitors were divided into residents and non-residents of Citrus County. Since the thrust of this study is to look at the economic impact of non-residents, 400 visitors from outside Citrus County were interviewed to ascertain critical information on such variables as party size, length of stay and spending patterns of these park attendees. This was the same method employed in Chapters 2 and 3 dealing with the economic impact of Ichetucknee Springs State Park and Wakulla Springs State Park.
During fiscal year 2002, 265,977 individuals were attracted to Homosassa Springs State Park. From our sampling, it was estimated that 64% of these individuals could be designated as visitors from outside Citrus County. Thus, in Table 4.3, it is estimated that nearly 170 thousand Homosassa Springs visitors from outside Citrus County injected money into the local economy. These visitors were divided into five classifications based on their selected accommodation mode. One category was included for those day visitors traveling from outside of Citrus County. According to our sample, day visitors and those staying with friends and family, constituting about 75% of all visitors sampled. This is shown in Table 4.3. There were not many variations in party size ranging from 3.5 (i.e., day visitors) to 4.28 (campground users). A party of visitors stays from 1 (i.e., day visitors) to as many as 7 (i.e., campers) days as shown in Table 4.3.
Of interest, spending per party day varied from $46 for day visitors to $148 per party day for those staying in hotels and motels in Citrus County. It should be noted that to be included in the economic impact, a visitors primary objective must be to see the amenities connected to the springs. Thus, one could camp outside the springs, but still be counted as a by-product of primarily attending the springs. As one can see from Table 4.3, campers in the area constitute only 9% of all visitors to Homosassa Springs. As a group, visitors spent about $90 per party day and $25 per person day. These spending rates by visitors from outside Citrus County have a lower spending rate (e.g., per party day) for Citrus County than either Ichetucknee and Wakulla Springs analyzed in Chapters 2 and 3. A comparison for all four parks may be seen later in Chapter 6.
The economic model used to estimate the economic impact of Homosassa Springs-related visitors on Citrus County was described extensively in Chapter 2 dealing with Ichetucknee Springs. Table 4.3 contains the necessary information to estimate the total economic impact defined as the estimated spending, wages and employment generated by visitors to Homosassa Springs State Park from outside Citrus County. Spending by accommodation mode and day visitors is a function of attendance, length of stay per visitor in the area and spending per individual. Multiplying these three factors together for motels and hotels as an example yields about $5.5 million spent by these Homosassa Springs-related visitors from outside Citrus County. In addition, we must know what commodities are bought by visitors to estimate visitor-related wages and employment generated by their expenditures. All of these computations are easily implemented by the use of a fairly complicated spreadsheet analysis which can be made available to park researchers.
At the bottom of Table 4.3, the end result of these rather complicated computations are shown by accommodation mode plus day visitors. For the year 2002, it is estimated that Homosassa Springs State Park-related visitors spend about $13.6 million in Citrus County. This is considerably lower than the expenditures generated by Ichetucknee or Wakulla Springs considered in Chapters 2 and 3 above. Based upon the kind of spending by visitors (shopping, restaurants, hotels), it was estimated that these expenditures generated $3.12 million in wages and 206 jobs. Such jobs as discussed before are largely part-time and low skilled based upon the kind of spending by visitors which is true throughout Florida where tourism is the number one industry in terms of employment and wages. Dividing wages by employment generated by visitors, the annual wage rate of those working in the visitor sector averaged only $15,146 per year. As shown in Table 4.1, the average annual earning per job in Citrus County is $23,296.
Table 4.4 shows the distribution of spending by all visitors based upon the overall spending pattern. Each visitor surveyed was asked to provide their spending according to eight commodities shown in Table 4.4. The four largest categories of spending in Table 4.4 are admission fees ($4.22 million); lodging ($3.43 million), evening entertainment ($2.36 million) and restaurants ($1.87 million) or $11.88 million which is 88% of all visitor spending. It should be pointed out that admission fees embrace a host of spending such as charter boats used in Citrus County while the primary purpose is to visit Homosassa Springs.
What is the relative contribution of Homosassa Springs to the economy of Citrus County? In 2000, Citrus County generated $758 million in wage and salaries supporting 30,466 jobs according to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2002), the most reliable source of data on wages and employment. Thus, Homosassa Springs State Park visitors contributed about .4% of wages and salaries ($3.13 million/$758 million), but .6% of total employment (206/30,466). In terms of wages and jobs, Homosassa Springs does not constitute a substantial part of the Citrus County economy. The trend in visitation to Homosassa Springs is decidedly upward based upon our analysis of the secular trend earlier in this chapter. Therefore, more jobs will be added by this attraction in the future. Finally, we have only measured the direct injection of money into this regional economy or what is called the “direct economic effect”. Such outside income injections are subject to a multiplier effect likely to be from 1.1 to 1.3 for a small regional economy. Thus, the primary or direct injection of spending of visitors to Homosassa Springs will probably produce from !0% to 30% more wages and jobs than shown in Table 4.4 of this report. Now, we shall continue on to our last spring to analyze. In Chapter 5, we shall consider the local economic impact of Blue Spring State Park in Volusia County.