Keys Study: 'Bloodline' Lures Tourists To Islands

Feb 11, 2016

  The Netflix TV series "Bloodline" has added millions of dollars to the local economy and employed hundreds of people in the Florida Keys. But a study commissioned by the region's tourism agency says the bigger benefit is in tourism.

"We found in the first six months since the show was released, which was March of 2015, we already had a huge impact in visitation," said Jessica Bennett, director of market research for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

That's the agency that collects taxes on short-term lodging in the Keys and spends it advertising the destination and promoting events.

The study found that while the local production spent $5.8 million in the Keys, it generated more than $65 million in tourism.

"Bloodline"'s Florida production office is in Homestead, but the show does lots of location shooting in the Keys, where the story is set. It centers around the Rayburn family, longtime owners of an Islamorada hotel.

"When they're filming, they use the names Islamorada, Key Largo, Key West," said Rita Troxel, Monroe County's film commissioner. "They leave the names of the businesses up in many instances. And people come down here, looking for those places."

"Bloodline" has a dark tone, with deadly criminal activity and lethal sibling rivalries. But that apparently does not deter potential visitors.

Researchers found "that it gave it a hip, coolness flavor and that the dark plot did not make it less appealing," Bennett said. "It actually made it more appealing because of what they saw in the picturesque scenes."

"Bloodline"'s first season received $8 million in tax credits from the state, according to the state Office of Film and Entertainment's most recent annual report. Florida's film incentive program is due to expire in July unless the Legislature takes action to renew it.