Tampa Bay refers both to the entire metropolitan area and also to the large bay that extends inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Tampa is located northeast of the bay, and the city of St. Petersburg is located on the peninsula near the mouth of the bay. The topography of the region is flat, with the Hillsborough River stretching 56 miles through the center of Hillsborough County.
The Tampa MSA contains around 2.8 million residents. Tampa is the largest city with a population of 341,400 and the Hillsborough County seat. St. Petersburg and Clearwater are the next most populous cities, with 240,600 and 107,300 citizens, respectively. Higher-density redevelopment projects in Tampa will spur population growth over the next five years.
Tampa’s economy is on the rebound. Job growth has helped fuel a turnaround in retail sales, with most major employment sectors forecast to add to payrolls through 2016. Bioscience and other high-tech industries are expanding, thanks in part to research at university and college campuses throughout the area. Growth in these industries further bolsters Tampa's reputation as a high-tech corridor; the region is referred to as “Technology Bay.”
The area is home to many large businesses, including WellCare Health Plans, Tech Data and Jabil Circuit, all of which are Fortune 500 companies. Tourism plays a significant role in the Florida economy, contributing more than $50 billion annually. Tourists inject more than $2 billion each year into the MSA economy alone.
Tampa’s three ports - the Port of Tampa, Port of Manatee and Port of St. Petersburg - support thousands of direct and indirect jobs and have an economic impact of more than $15 billion annually.