- August 14, 2020
TAMPA — Visit Tampa Bay, a nonprofit organization that markets the region to tourists and other visitors, has benefited from record bed tax revenue in nine of the past 12 months.
According to a news release, the agency ended its 2016-17 budget year with an unprecedented $30.5 million in tourist development tax revenues. The final tally for the fiscal year came in more than 3% over the revenue record set the previous year. Over the past five years, the bed tax has grown by 44%.
“This past year was an extremely strong one for both tourism and for Visit Tampa Bay,” says Visit Tampa Bay president and CEO Santiago Corrada in a statement.
“The strength of Visit Tampa Bay's brand as a destination continues to boost us as a world-class place to visit. As we add more great experiences — from unique food concepts to novel attractions — I expect we'll see our profile rise even higher among travelers. Ultimately, the community wins when that happens.”
The results for the budget year, which ended Sept. 30, put Visit Tampa Bay in position to reach $30 million in bed taxes by the end of calendar year 2017. That's the core of a goal, dubbed “30 in 3,” that Corrada laid out for the organization in 2014.
The $30 million goal is shorthand for achieving $600 million in taxable hotel room sales in a single calendar year. Under state law, crossing that threshold in a single calendar year makes Hillsborough County eligible to join the ranks of Florida's High-Impact Tourism counties, a designation that allows counties to raise their bed tax from 5% to 6%.
For the 2016-17 fiscal year, Tampa Bay's total (taxable and non-taxable) hotel revenues reached $670 million, up 5% over the same period last year, according to the release. Average daily rate reached $116.92 (up 4.2%, year over year), and revenue per available room — a key indicator of profitability — hit $85.53 (up 3.1 year over year).
“Yield is our key goal at the moment,” Corrada states. “As we wait for new hotel inventory and anticipated developments to come online over the next few years, we are working hard to make the most of the availability we have for both leisure travelers and convention groups.”
According to the statement, independent analysis by industry experts shows that nearly 23 million visitors to Hillsborough County pumped nearly $6 billion into the local economy - more than half of that directly into the wages of workers in tourism-related industries.