Originally posted on the CBS12 website

A large crowd gathered in front of Deerfield Beach Tuesday hoping to catch a glimpse of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

“I grew up watching Baywatch and it’s exciting to see they’re now making a movie and I’m a huge Rock fan,” said Alexandra Israel.

Crews are spending the week in Palm Beach and Broward counties, filming scenes for the new “Baywatch” movie. Spotted in the area are stars of the film, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron.

Michelle Hillery, deputy film commissioner for the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, says productions like “Baywatch” has not only short term impacts to the local economy, but long term as well.

“You get the promotion when this film comes out and they’re recognized areas that are within your area, the tourism aspects can be amazing,” Hillery said. She adds that a recentVISITFLORIDA survey finds 21.7 percent of all domestic visitors said they came to Florida because of something they saw in a feature film or a television show.

Florida used to be the third most popular state for film producers, but not anymore. In fact, only a part of the new “Baywatch” movie is being filmed in South Florida, with the bulk of the movie being shot in Georgia.

Hillery says Florida has lost out to other states who offer more competitive deals to draw in productions to their states. In 2010, the State of Florida put aside nearly $300 million to lure in more television, film and digital productions, but the success quickly outpaced the money available. This left room for dozens of other states to offer better deals and incentives to production companies who can often recoup anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of expenses from tax incentives offered. This helps a production’s bottom line.

Productions may now shoot in Florida for only days or weeks at a time, as opposed to the past when films would be shot over several months. Lost projects, Hillery says, has cost the State of Florida more than $650 million. There is a renewed push in Tallahassee for lawmakers this session to replenish a state incentive program before it expires in July. Hillery says bills are seeking to establish a more permanent program offering incentives to lure in more production projects.

“The whole purpose of the program is to generate more income for the State of Florida,” Hillery said. “Utilizing local business, hiring local crews, staying in local hotels, eating in local restaurants, all of the things productions do within communities they come in.”

Crews from “Baywatch” this week are using more than 1,000 hotel rooms in Boca Raton. Hillery says business here could be much bigger with the right investment.

Click HERE to read the article on the CBS12 website.