Saturday, May 19, 2018
Business

Bed tax revenue shows efforts to market Hernando to visitors are paying off

BROOKSVILLE — During the past year, a record 89.3 million visitors arrived in Florida, stayed in hotels and motels, visited attractions and spent lots of cash while they were here. Hernando County, it seems, got a fairly sizable slice of the action.

In a report to county commissioners Tuesday, Hernando tourism coordinator Tammy Heon said that the 12-month period that ended in May saw the county collect 9.7 percent more in tourism tax revenue than it did during the previous 12-month period.

While special events such as the Brooksville Cycling Classic, the Chinsegut Bird and Wildlife Festival and the Florida Blueberry Festival continue to draw impressive numbers of new visitors to the area, Heon credited the uptick to an effort to market the county more aggressively throughout the state, as well as beyond its borders.

Overall, the numbers show a steadily improving picture for a vital county industry that has seen its share of tumbles since the economic downturn began in 2007. According to Heon, year-to-date revenue for fiscal year 2012-13 totals $223,347.11, and the total tourist development tax revenue collected during the March/April reporting period was $47,956.18, compared to $46,266.77 for the prior year.

The revenue is used to market the county to tourists and support events that draw visitors to Hernando.

Heon said that despite the cancellation of the Florida Classic Clusters dog show in January, bed tax revenue was up slightly, leaving her to believe that the brightening tourism picture is due to the steadily improving economy and rising consumer confidence, plus a more earnest approach to lure out-of-state visitors through social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.

"We're working harder and harder to get the word out to people of the unique experiences our county has that are worth checking out while they're in Florida," Heon said.

According to Heon, ecotourism activities such as hiking, bicycling, canoeing and kayaking, as well as special events, continue to be the driving force in bringing visitors to Hernando who are apt to stay overnight. According Tourist Development Council figures, the cycling classic, which was held last October in downtown Brooksville, brought about 4,000 attendees who accounted for more than 90 motel and hotel room nights during the weekend.

Heon told commissioners that the Tourist Development Council's newly redesigned website continues to be one of her department's most powerful tools. The new design, which offers improved graphics and navigational features — as well as more prominent links to information about activities such as fishing, scalloping, birding, hiking and paddling — also provides a launching spot for the agency's social media functions.

"These are the kinds of tools that are making us competitive in the tourism marketplace," Heon said. "We're about 85 percent of where we want to be content-wise, and we're going to keep building until we get where we want to be."

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Comments
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

TAMPA ó A decade ago, the Great Recession put Hillsborough and Pinellas countiesí efforts to grow their foreign exports on hold.But since then those efforts have returned, gained support and momentum, expanded the range of their ambition and are now ...
Published: 05/18/18
Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Floridaís economy appears to have plateaued with its unemployment rate holding at 3.9 percent for the seventh straight month, according to the April report released Friday.But some economists say it may be a good thing if the rate doesnít fall much m...
Published: 05/18/18
Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

TAMPA ó A lawsuit over the mix of residences and offices in the planned $350 million Riverwalk Place tower has been dropped.Last August, Riverwalk Tower Investment-Intown LLC, which had been expected to be one of the developers in the project, filed ...
Published: 05/18/18
Orlandoís new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

Orlandoís new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

By MIKE SCHNEIDERORLANDO ó The arms race to build new theme park attractions in Orlando is paying dividends. A new report released this week shows theme park attendance at the largest parks in North America last year was up 2.3 percent, powered by ne...
Published: 05/18/18
How Mosaicís relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

How Mosaicís relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

Tampa International covets a nonstop flight to S„o Paulo, Brazil. Mosaic Co, which is moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County, has huge holdings in the country, including several mines. Could Mosaicís relocation help TIA realize its dream? It ...
Published: 05/18/18
Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

HOLIDAY ó A year ago this month, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts announced plans for its first-ever RV park, near Tarpon Springs where the Anclote River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.The $35 million resort, named after the popular Jamaican marine artist...
Published: 05/18/18
American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

MIAMI ó A gigantic $4 billion retail and entertainment complex won government approval Thursday after years of debate, greenlighting what promises to be the largest mall in North America, just a few miles from the environmentally sensitive Everglades...
Published: 05/18/18