Employers have long prized the Tampa region for its rich supply of multilingual talent. Modern Tampa was founded by Cuban, Italian and Spanish immigrants who came here to build the world’s cigar industry in the late 1800s. A multicultural workforce has been a strength of Tampa businesses ever since.
As we grew, the culture continued to expand and diversify. In 1886, Vicente Martinez Ybor established a cigar factory in Tampa, starting our reign as Cigar City. Founded by Cuban immigrant cigar manufacturers, Ybor City offers a taste of Hispanic flavor through local cigar factories, restaurants, and historic architecture.
While certain areas like Ybor were heavily influenced by Cuban culture, many nationalities and cultures are prevalent throughout our community. We are home to individuals hailing from over 130 nationalities, running the gamut from Irish to Puerto Rican to Indian to Vietnamese.
The University of South Florida attracts students from over 140 countries to its campuses in Tampa and St. Petersburg. The University of Tampa and Eckerd College also draw a healthy cohort of international students.
Tampa is well-known for its welcoming attitude toward LGBTQ individuals and families. Tampa scored well on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, ranking above the state average with a score of 86. The index scores are assigned based on several factors evaluating a city’s commitment to providing LGBTQ protections and inclusive policies in areas ranging from employment to law enforcement.
Tampa also honors our unique cultural diversity with a host of community events and fesitvals that celebrate the foods, traditions and customs of our nationalities. L’Unione Italiana, or the Italian Club of Tampa, hosts regular events, including the Festa Italiana and Wines of Italy. Ybor City hosts the annual Ybor Aficionado Days and Cuban Sandwich Festival. Tarpon Springs is home to a Greek community with some of the best restaurants, markets, and bakeries in the country, among the world famous sponge docks. Every January it hosts the largest Epiphany celebration in the Western Hemisphere. Tampa was also selected to host the 2014 International Indian Film Academy Awards.