Welcome to the Tampa Bay Region!   

The International Council connects the Tampa Bay Region with the world by bringing a unique group of the world’s emerging leaders here and linking them with the region’s vast professional, historical, cultural and education resources.


The Tampa Bay region consists of the three contiguous metropolitan areas of Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater; Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice; and Lakeland-Winter Haven in west central Florida. The region includes the seven counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota with a population of 4.1 million (2009).

A little over 20 percent of Tampa Bay’s population is in the highly desirable 18-34 age group. That is a market of more than three-quarters of a million of the most sought-after consumers and workers.


Tampa Bay is home to over 15 billion dollar headquarter companies of which eight are Fortune 1000 companies (Florida is home to 32 Fortune 1000 companies). There have been recent major investments and announcements in Life Sciences, Bio-Technology and R&D - with SRI, Draper Labs, and Merck & Co. locating facilities in the region.

The top five industry super sectors in Tampa Bay are:

·     Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

·     Professional and Business Services

·     Education and Health

·     Services

·     Leisure and Hospitality

·     Financial Activities

The key growth clusters sharing talent, technology, educational resources and infrastructure in Tampa Bay include:

           Marine Sciences

           Life Sciences

           MEMS & Nanotechnology

           Medical Manufacturing

           Financial Services

           Shared Services

           Flavors & Essences

           Information Technologies

           Logistics & Distribution

Agriculture & Agribusiness

Florida is best known for its narrow strip of coastal beaches, major hubs for the tourism industry. Travel 20 miles inland and you’ll find Florida’s largest industry: Agriculture!  Florida produces: 

·      67% of citrus in the US. 

·     25% of the world’s phosphate (fertilizer) 

·    #1 US producer of of snap beans, fresh market tomatoes, cucumbers for fresh market, cucumbers for pickles, bell peppers, squash and watermelons. 

·    Top US producer of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and sugarcane. 

·    #2 US output of greenhouse and nursery products, sweet corn and strawberries. 

·    #4 US producer of honey. 

·    Top 4 US producer of timber. 

Citrus, cattle, fisheries, vegetables & produce, organics, nurseries and landscape architecture are all found in the Tampa Bay Region.The International Council has substantial program experience in this key sector of the Florida economy, throughout the Tampa Bay region, statewide and internationally.

Tampa Bay Transportation Network

The Tampa Bay region’s infrastructure system encompasses over-the-road transport, water transport, air cargo, and rail freight carriers, as well as freight terminals, warehousing facilities, and local and regional distribution centers. It also includes the following supporting transportation infrastructure:

     500 miles of active CSX Transportation (CSXT) railroad and siding tracks;

    Approximately 143 million square feet of industrial space, with an additional 76 million square feet approved for development;

     Extensive seaport facilities at the Port of Tampa and Port Manatee; and

    Growing air cargo operations at Tampa International Airport, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.

Higher Education

Three of the 10 largest universities in the nation are within a 2-hour drive of Tampa Bay. The University of South Florida (Tampa), the University of Central Florida (Orlando) and the University of Florida (Gainesville) have a combined student population of 150,000.  The region has 65 colleges and career institutes. There are three institutions with enrollment of over 20,000 students. There are 29 four-year colleges, 9 two-year colleges and 27 dedicated career institutes.

The US’ 4th largest College of Education is part of the University of South Florida. The area is also home to many innovative approaches to education at the K-12 level, including the first “International Baccalaureate” program in the US for elementary school students.  The Hillsborough County School Board was awarded a $100 million grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant in 2009, a major investment in K-12 education reform. 

 Tourism, Sports & Recreation

Tourism is a major economic driver for Tampa Bay, generating $12.7 billion in annual revenue. The Tampa Bay region hosts an estimated 35 million visitors per year. The beaches and climate provide year-round swimming, sailing, water-skiing, jet skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, diving and shelling. More than 300 species of fish can be caught in area waters, noted as one of Florida’s premier fishing spots. Kayaking and canoeing are quite popular with a variety of rivers, streams and natural coastline to explore.

At almost any time of the year, the Tampa Bay Region hosts major professional and amateur sporting events.  Last year, visitors were able to attend an NFL official Super Bowl host community event, watch the Tampa Bay Rays win their way to Major League Baseball’s American League Championship, and “racing in the streets” at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Tampa Bay is home to the Super Bowl XXXVII Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and Major League Baseball’s 2008 American League Champions the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa Bay offers a great variety of theme parks and natural attractions including Busch Gardens & Adventure Island, the Florida Aquarium, MOTE Marine Aquarium, Bok Tower and Gardens, Sunken Gardens, Myakka State Park, Weeki Wachee Springs and Selby Botanical Gardens. The Lowry Park Zoo, located in Tampa, has been rated “The No.1 Family-Friendly Zoo in the U.S.” byChild Magazine.

Culture and the Performing Arts

The arts are a key part of the Tampa Bay lifestyle. The Tampa Bay region is home to 60 theater groups and world class concert halls. The Tampa Bay region has a tremendous and eclectic offering of world class arts and exhibits. There are more than 36 major museums in the region, among them the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is the largest science center in the southeast, 5th largest in the nation, and the largest children’s science center in the nation. Other museums focus on childhood education, local history, fine arts, and vintage automobile and aircraft collections.


Sources: The Tampa Bay Partnership; The International Council of the Tampa Bay Region; Pictures Courtesy of Eric Kennedy



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"When you open your homes, when you open your communities, when you open your hearts to visitors from around the world, you give your guests a chance to see America at our best..."


Colin Powell,
Former US Secretary of State