Sustainable Tourism


The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is comprised of three bodies of water: the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River. The lagoon travels 156 miles along the east coast of Florida from Ponce de Leon Inlet to the Jupiter Inlet. It is the most biologically-diverse estuary in the northern hemisphere and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants and animals. It serves as a spawning and nursery ground for many different species of oceanic and lagoon fish and shellfish and has one of the most diverse bird populations.

Nearly 1/3 of the nation's manatee population lives here or migrates here seasonally, and over 1,000 bottlenose dolphin live in the Indian River Lagoon. Its ocean beaches also provides one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas. The 2016 Economic Valuation is as follows:

  • Total annual economic output received from IRL in 2014 was $7.6 billion
  • $934 million in annualized real estate value added for properties located on or near IRL
  • $9.9 billion economic contributions from estuarine-related resources in Volusia County north of Ponce de Leon Inlet
  • Recreation and visitor-related activity related to IRL was $1.57 billion
  • By 2025, the IRL regions expect to receive 11 million visitors annually

The following organizations have declared their support for the IRL National Estuary Program (IRL NEP):

  • Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority
  • Brevard County Tourist Development Council
  • Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
  • St. Lucie County Tourist Development Council
  • Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing

Recognition of the importance of the IRL:

  • Ecological
  • Economic value to our region: nearly 1 million people live and work in the IRL. It accounts for $300 million in fisheries revenue, $2.1 billion in the citrus industry, and $300 million in boat and marine sales annually
  • Visitors spend an estimated 3.2 million personal days in recreation on the lagoon
  • Protect and restore: water quality, climate change, wildlife, habitats
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Travel and tourism should be planned and practiced as a means of individual and collective fulfillment. Everyone has a role to play creating responsible travel and tourism. Governments, businesses and communities must do all they can, but as a guest you can support this in many ways to make a difference:


Project H2O (Healthy Habitat through Outreach) - Bringing together government agencies, environmental organizations, local universities, and non-profits to collaborate on research, education, restoration and funding opportunities to improve Volusia County waters and the Indian River Lagoon. Programs in place:

  • Protect Our Lagoon Academy


The City of New Smyrna Beach is designated as a Monarch City, thanks to its efforts to directly help the monarch butterfly population by planting and distributing milkweed and nectar plants to local citizens. The designation is given by the non-profit, Monarch City USA, and New Smyrna Beach is just the second city in Florida to receive the title. 

new smyrna beach

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