Through the hard work of many dedicated business professionals, Tampa has emerged to become one of the most flourishing cities in the state. The Tampa Bay Chamber takes pride in its remarkable efforts that made Tampa’s history a success and continue to support the businesses that keep it there.

The Tampa Bay Chamber began as the Tampa Board of Trade in 1885 and was reorganized in 1928 to become the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. In 1947 it became the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, which it remained, until 2019 when it changed its name to the Tampa Bay Chamber.

We were formed to advance the general business conditions of this area, backed by the support of a growing agricultural and industrial industry base that would branch out to become one of the most diverse economies in the nation.

Through our strong volunteer leadership and unique partnership with the cities, county and our own members, the Chamber has had an enormous impact on the Tampa business community for more than 130 years.



On May 7th, 1885, The Tampa Board of Trade was created at the Branch’s Opera House. This would later become The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Dr. John P. Wall, John T. Lesley, and Thomas A. Carruth assumed the positions of president, vice president, and secretary. These highly respected men lead Tampa to become a more desirable place to live and work.

As president of the Tampa Board of Trade, Dr. John P. Wall supported an innovative transportation system. Named after H.B Plant, the Plant System allowed Tampa to branch out to neighboring and distant cities through the construction of bridges, railroads, and waterworks.

The growing infrastructure allowed the Board to connect with a larger business community, gaining new membership and financial support. Chairmen and committees were formed and The Board’s growing status spread quickly. Education and government services, as well as, support for diversity, culture, and art grew as well.


Influenced by the national trend, the Board of Trade replaced its name to become the Tampa Chamber of Commerce on December 1, 1928.


The Chamber’s Education Committee supported the creation of a university in Tampa. When The Tampa Bay Hotel went bankrupt in August, the hotel was turned over and became the University of Tampa.


Chairman of the Chamber’s Aviation Committee, Jerry Waterman, convinced government officials that Tampa was the perfect location for a new airforce base. His highly respected reputation and negotiating skills paid off when land was cleared to start construction for MacDill Airforce Base on November 28, 1939.


On January 22, 1954 The Committee of One Hundred was created at a special meeting at the Tampa Terrace Hotel. More than 200 members attended and made a financial commitment to the economic development of Tampa.

Mid 1950s

The Chamber successfully secured Tampa as the location for The University of South Florida.


A tour of Latin American countries in 1960 broadened the Chambers’ influence and initiated trade development between Florida and Latin America.


The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce officially received designation as an “Accredited Chamber of Commerce” by the United States Chamber of Commerce.


The Tampa Chamber Board of Governors voted to start the Leadership Tampa Program to help young executives reach out to the community.


The Chamber’s Cultural Affairs Council supported the construction for The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. 1982 also marked the success of an 18-year campaign to secure a Foreign Trade Zone in Tampa.


Tampa was awarded to host Super Bowl XVII. Tampa would later host Super Bowls XXV in 1999, XXXV in 2001 and XLIII in 2009. Tampa later hosted Super Bowl LV in 2021.


The Chamber earned the rare 5-star Accreditation by the US Chamber of Commerce.


The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce changes its name to the Tampa Bay Chamber in an effort to advocate on behalf of the entire Tampa Bay business community in Tallahassee and D.C.

Today, the Tampa Bay Chamber celebrates more than 133 years of hard-earned success and maturity. The hard work and dedication of Tampa’s first visionaries paved the way for the vibrant and rich community we enjoy today. Tampa is a community where people can live, work, and play.


The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals named the Tampa Bay Chamber as Chamber of the Year.