Business & Industrygenerates almost one-third of Florida’s marine sales. “There’s a long-standing saying in the marine industry that if you can’t find something in Fort Lauderdale, it’s not findable,” he says.
Within the marine industry, Broward caters to the “mega-yacht” market. More than 1,400 vessels over 80 feet visit the county each year on their way to the Caribbean or other destinations around the world. “Boating is an important part of the Broward economy, as well as the lifestyle of South Florida,” says Herhold.
Financial services are another vital contributor to Greater Fort Lauderdale’s prosperity. A recent “State Farm Fiscally Fit Cities Report,” the first study of its kind, ranked Fort Lauderdale as one of the top 10 most ‘fiscally fit’ cities in America based on three primary categories: investments, insurance and quality of life.
According to federal statistics, Bank of America is the number one financial institution in Fort Lauderdale in terms of retail deposits. “We share a commitment with the rest of the community to broadening opportunities for all residents of Fort Lauderdale and a willingness to do the work that produces such results,” says Jim Cassady, recently retired Broward County president, Bank of America. “In our multicultural communities in particular, we are hiring more bilingual associates, and creating new products that serve specific needs, such as providing a convenient, reliable tool for residents to send money back to their families in other countries.”
Tourism and Trade
For many decades, the visitor industry has been the largest segment of Broward’s economy. Last year, more than 8.7 million leisure and business travelers visited Broward, generating nearly 100,000 annual and 35,000 seasonal jobs, according to Nicki Grossman, president and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.
“We are a year-round warm weather destination with many different appeals to visitors,” says Grossman. In the past three years, the leisure segment has remained healthy, while business and sports-related travel have grown significantly – 627,000 convention and meeting room nights and 505,000 sport-related room nights in 2003. Participants in many youth sports are traveling to Broward events throughout the year, bringing family members and coaches with them.