Friday, October 19, 2018
Business

Year in review: New ice complex helps Pasco sets tourism record in 2017

WESLEY CHAPEL — It was a record year for tourism with Pasco County collecting $1.15 million in bed tax revenue during the 2017 fiscal year.

And it is a number that likely will never be that small again. Even if the number of visitors remains steady in 2018, the county’s revenue will be twice as much.

The mathematics comes courtesy of Pasco commissioners who agreed to double the tourist tax rate beginning Oct. 1., the first increase since voters approved the tax on overnight accommodations in 1990.

It was one reasons Pasco’s tourism industry changed dramatically in 2017.

In January, the privately owned $22.5 million Florida Hospital Center Ice opened in Wesley Chapel and immediately lured the U.S. women’s national team for its training camp in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. College and youth hockey players also filled the ice rink, the largest in the southeastern United States.

In August, commissioners increased the tourist tax to 4 percent to finance the county’s portion of a $45 million indoor sports center and hotel in the Wiregrass Ranch development. The tax increase also is intended to help pay for $5 million worth of new boat ramps and trailer parking on the west side of the county as Pasco prepares for what it hopes to be a seasonal influx of people fishing for scallops starting in 2018.

To house the visitors, two new hotels opened and four more are under construction along the state Road 54/56 corridor from Lutz to Wesley Chapel.

Leading the tourism charge for Pasco County is Adam Thomas who started in September as the county’s new tourism director after four years in Citrus County.

C.T. Bowen, Times Staff Writer

PAST COVERAGE: Sports complex coming.

PAST COVERAGE: New tourism boss.

Comments
Florida’s unemployment rate falls to 3.5 percent while Tampa Bay’s rate plunges to 2.9 percent

Florida’s unemployment rate falls to 3.5 percent while Tampa Bay’s rate plunges to 2.9 percent

Florida’s economy is continuing to hum along, according to September employment numbers released Friday. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to a mark last seen in February 2007 — 3.5 percent, down from 3.7 percent in August.And compared to a year ...
Published: 10/19/18
Jeff Vinik invests in another tech startup focused on health and wellness

Jeff Vinik invests in another tech startup focused on health and wellness

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has made a series of investments in companies focused on health, wellness and technology in industries ranging from construction to medicine, and from fitness to radiation protection.He’s at it again. This...
Published: 10/19/18
Hurricane Michael’s affect on timber industry ‘catastrophic

Hurricane Michael’s affect on timber industry ‘catastrophic", Adam Putnam says.

Hurricane Michael’s enduring legacy could include long-term damage to Florida’s timber industry.While experts try to get a handle on the carnage, state Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday that preliminary estimates peg it at $1.3 billio...
Published: 10/19/18
Is the annual pass worth it? As Disney changes pricing system, we help you decide

Is the annual pass worth it? As Disney changes pricing system, we help you decide

Though costly, annual passes at Disney World, Universal, Busch Gardens and other parks can sometimes be a smarter choice. You just have to know what you’re getting.
Published: 10/19/18
Tampa’s Oxford Exchange one of nation’s 50 most beautiful independent stores

Tampa’s Oxford Exchange one of nation’s 50 most beautiful independent stores

TAMPA — Architectural Digest has named Tampa’s Oxford Exchange as Florida’s most beautiful independent store — and one of the 50 most beautiful in the nation. Opened in 2012 in a onetime stable, the exchange a at 420 W. Kennedy Blvd. includes a resta...
Published: 10/19/18
After Hurricane Michael, a hunt for surviving oysters in Apalachicola

After Hurricane Michael, a hunt for surviving oysters in Apalachicola

APALACHICOLA — T.J. Ward’s phone rang. Service had improved in the days since Hurricane Michael. "Get another scrub brush and a squeegee,"he told his sister. "The littlest one you can find." The Ward family’s 13 Mile Seafood Marke...
Published: 10/19/18
A new Earth Fare is coming to Lutz this winter

A new Earth Fare is coming to Lutz this winter

Times Staff Writer LUTZ — Earth Fare will open its third location in Tampa Bay this winter, continuing to expand the area’s growing organic grocery market.Earth Fare entered Tampa Bay in 2016 with a location in Seminole and then opened a second in Ol...
Published: 10/19/18
Is Tampa Bay finally seeing signs of a buyer’s market? Soaring September sales hint at it

Is Tampa Bay finally seeing signs of a buyer’s market? Soaring September sales hint at it

Bucking a national trend, sales of single-family homes soared by double digits in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando counties in September.That dramatic increase, coupled with minor price increases, suggests that a real estate market that has favore...
Published: 10/19/18
Aldi unrolls grocery delivery through Instacart across Florida

Aldi unrolls grocery delivery through Instacart across Florida

Savvy Tampa Bay shoppers may have already noticed Aldi pop up in their Instacart app earlier this month, but the discount store officially announced its delivery expansion across Florida this week.Instacart is a delivery service that allows shoppers ...
Published: 10/19/18
Tuna-gate: StarKist admits fixing prices, faces $100 million fine

Tuna-gate: StarKist admits fixing prices, faces $100 million fine

StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony price fixing charge as part of a broad collusion investigation of the canned tuna industry, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Published: 10/19/18