Make us your home page
Instagram

A record July keeps Pinellas tourism boom going in 2013

TAMPA — The tourism boom continues unabated in Pinellas County, setting the stage for what could be another record year of tourist development bed tax collections.

First, the latest good news: Pinellas collected $2.86 million in July, the best July ever. That's a 9 percent increase, or $247,000 more than the $2.6 million from July 2012.

A successful July 2013 marked 24 straight months of tourist tax growth. In other words, for 24 months in a row, the amount collected beat what was earned the same month the year before.

All this means Pinellas could enjoy a second straight year of record bed tax receipts. In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2013, Pinellas has collected nearly $28 million. That's very close to the all-time collection record of $28.75 million in fiscal year 2012. In fact, Pinellas need only garner $1.66 million in the last two months to set a new record.

But the county will need to do it without the Republican National Convention, a massive event that boosted last year's August 2012 numbers.

David Downing, the deputy director of Pinellas tourism agency Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, credited two factors for the county's ongoing tourism boom: the economic recovery — or the perception of a recovery — freeing up pent-up demand for travel; and summer is turning into a kind of second tourism season for Pinellas County, after the peak winter period.

For years, hoteliers kept rates low just to attract summer business. That's no longer the case. It helps that Pinellas focused its summer marketing to get locals to hit the beaches. The top feeder market in July was the Orlando region. Tampa Bay was second.

"When we see demand like this in what has traditionally been a softer demand time of year," Downing said, "that gives us an indication that the product itself, the destination itself, is growing. It's growing because more people are seeing us at more times of the year than before."

Across the bay, Hillsborough County is seeing a slight dip in tourist bed tax collections this past summer. The county collected about $1.5 million in tourist development tax in July. But that was a 4 percent, or $64,000, drop from July 2012.

The first 10 months of Hillsborough's fiscal year 2013 bed tax collections are still running 3 percent above last fiscal year's numbers, however. The Tampa side of the bay has collected $19.75 million so far in fiscal year 2013. That's just $1.28 million away from matching the $21 million Hillsborough garnered in fiscal year 2012.

In Pinellas and Hillsborough, the tourist development tax is a 5 percent surcharge tacked on to the bill of every hotel room and short-term rental to promote tourism.

A record July keeps Pinellas tourism boom going in 2013 09/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  2. Equifax CEO Richard Smith steps down amid hacking scandal

    Personal Finance

    The chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will retire, effective Tuesday, according to a statement by the company.

    Richard Smith, chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will reportedly retire effective Tuesday.
[File photo: Joey Ivansco/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP]
  3. Bass Pro acquires Cabela's for $4 billion

    Retail

    Bass Pro Shops has acquired competitor Cabela's for a reported $4 billion. Bass Pro indicated it is seeking to appeal to all "outdoor enthusiasts" with the move, roping in hunting customers from Cabela's.

    Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's for $4 billion, Bass Pro announced Tuesday. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  4. Tampa International named among least expensive airports

    News

    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]

  5. Tampa-based vXchnge secures $200M loan to expand operations

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Tampa-based vXchnge, which operates data centers in 14 metro areas, has secured a loan for roughly $200 million for "major expansions and enhancements."

    Tampa-based vXchnge, a data center provider, secured a $200 million loan. Pictured is CEO Keith Olsen. | [Courtesy of vXchnge]