Make us your home page

Another record month of bed tax revenue signals Pinellas tourism's strength

CLEARWATER — Pinellas County tourism continued its record-setting tear in April.

The county collected $3.14 million in bed tax revenue to make it the best April on record. That's a 9 percent increase from last year, when tourists shelled out $2.9 million. It's also the first time tax proceeds have breached the $3 million mark in April.

That good news comes on the heels of March's excellent news, when the county collected an all-time record of $4.5 million in bed tax revenues. Pinellas has collected $17.3 million in bed tax revenues in the first seven months of the fiscal year, a 12 percent jump from the year before.

It's the latest indicator of the continued strength of Pinellas tourism, an industry that has kept its momentum while the rest of the bay area has grappled with an anemic economy and high unemployment.

"I am pleasantly surprised at how great these numbers are in not the best economic times," said Tony Satterfield, vice president of the Alden Beach Resort and Suites in St. Pete Beach. He's also a board member of the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council, which was briefed Wednesday on April's figures.

The public agency is funded by the 5 percent bed tax, which is tacked onto hotels, motels and campgrounds and used by the agency to bolster tourism.

The bed tax figures are why tourism officials expect a strong spring to lead to a strong summer and then a strong August when the Republican National Convention convenes in Tampa. They credit April's success to tourists up North finally taking the trips they had been putting off. Those visitors were also attracted by a very mild winter, officials believe, and aggressive marketing aimed at key domestic markets.

"A lot of visitors had been waiting for the economy to level off before taking the trip they didn't take last year," said David Downing, deputy director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the county's tourism marketing agency. "Another factor was that we got really aggressive in our key feeder markets like Chicago and New York."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (813) 226-3404.

Another record month of bed tax revenue signals Pinellas tourism's strength 06/13/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  4. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  5. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.