Report links Florida film industry to tourism dollars

For every dollar they’re given in state tax credits, movies and television shows filmed in Florida could put more than $20 back into state coffers, according to a study released this week from the film industry.

The report, prepared for the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity and paid for by the Motion Picture Association of America, projected a positive return on investment for the Florida’s Film and Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program.

Specifically, the study looked at how much tourism money the film industry could attract from 2011 through 2017. That ranged from about $1.6 billion to $5.9 billion, assuming either 5 percent or 19.5 percent of Florida visitors come here because of something they saw in a movie or TV show. With $296 million in state tax credits over that time, the industry’s return on investment would range from 5.6 percent to 20.5 percent, meaning the productions would generate between $5.60 and $20.50 for every dollar they’re given in tax credits.

The state enacted the incentive program in 2010 in hopes of bringing more film and other entertainment productions to Florida. Lobbying groups like Film Florida and state lawmakers like Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, are pushing the Legislature to fund incentives through 2020.

“The program attracts a significant amount of entertainment projects, and in turn, Florida gains direct and indirect jobs, tax revenue and film-induced tourism dollars from the film and entertainment industry,” Film Florida President Leah Sokolowsky said in a statement. “If leveraged to its full potential, the incentive program has the ability to infuse even more capital into our state’s economy.”

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