Visit Tampa Bay reports that Hillsborough County collected nearly $34M in Tourist Development Tax for the budget year ending September 30. That number is a new record for Hillsborough tourism revenue, according to the organization.
Visit Tampa Bay CEO and President Santiago Corrada told the Tampa Bay Business Journal she knew the organization, which reported the number on Thursday, would break the previous record, but added that "we didn't know that it would be by this much."
The $34M total is 10.8 percent jump from 2017, when the county collected $30.5M.
According to hillstax.org, which has monthly breakdowns of the funds' distribution, the Tourist Development Tax is a five-percent tax on the total rental amount collected from any person or other party who rents, leases, or lets for consideration living quarters or accommodation in hotels, apartment hotels, motels, resort motels, apartments, apartment motels, rooming houses, tourist or trailer camps, vessels, or condominiums for a period of six months or less.
Pinellas County — which kinda, sorta, totally has something fishy going on at its beaches — collects a six-percent Tourist Development Tax. While the county hasn't reported its September total, Pinellas' gross tax collected through August is already north of $56M.
“This has been a tremendous year for Tampa Bay tourism — and completely a team effort on behalf of Visit Tampa Bay and our industry partners,” Corrada, of VTB, added in a release.
“Tourism, as an economic engine, runs 24 hours a day and reaches nearly every corner of our community. Our collaboration over the past 12 months promoting Hillsborough County nationally and internationally as a destination for conventions, leisure travel, and financial investment continues to pay major dividends for Hillsborough County and the region as a whole. We should all be extremely proud of this achievement.”
This is good news for the 813, and all, but we can totally imagine the folks on Pinellas County beaches holding their noses and saying, "We still made more money than you did."