Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Tampa Bay among top tourism destinations in the country

Tampa Bay has seen some of the biggest gains in tourism compared to other destinations across the country.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater hotel market is among the top in the nation, according to Smith Travel Research, which said the bay area saw the largest increase in hotel occupancy rates last year. The region also had the biggest bump in revenues per room.

STR Inc. research shows that of the top 25 tourism markets, Tampa Bay, which includes destinations in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, saw a 5.6 percent increase in occupancy to nearly 72 percent, and a 13.6 percent increase in revenue per room.

Hillsborough County competes against other tourism destinations for both leisure and convention business. Hillsborough ranked third for average daily room rate for the year at $107.95, up 8.1 percent compared to last year. Tampa was behind Nashville and Long Beach, Calif., in the rankings. In comparison, the average daily room rate in Pinellas County is $136.20 for the year.

"Tampa and Hillsborough County continue to perform at the top of our game as a tourism destination," Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, said in a statement. "Visit Tampa Bay's sales and marketing staffs work diligently with our partners to bring both convention and leisure travelers to experience all the treasures of Tampa Bay. So it's especially rewarding for us to finish 2015 at the top of our group of strong competitors."

The Tampa Bay area competes for business with Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, but also Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth in Texas, and Baltimore, Md., Milwaukee, Wis., and Charlotte, N.C.

Hillsborough County collects a 5 percent levy on hotel short-term hotel stays, also called the bed tax.

In December, the county collected just over $2 million in bed taxes for the month, up 6.7 percent over last year. Hillsborough County collected just under $6.1 million in bed taxes for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, according to a news release, up from the $5.2 million collected during the same quarter last year.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
Yelp search results reflected racist stereotype that Asian American restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflected racist stereotype that Asian American restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 9 hours ago
As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

WASHINGTON — With hundreds of thousands of emotional support animals taking to the skies on U.S. airlines, Congress may start pulling a tighter leash.Two new legislative options emerged this week to address a hairy issue for American Airlines, Southw...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

ST. PETERSBURG — The head of Duke Energy Florida is leaving his post to take a new role with the utility’s parent company June 1, the company announced on Wednesday.Harry Sideris, 47, was appointed this week to serve as vice president and chief distr...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Comcast challenges Murdoch with rival bid for U.K.-based Sky

LONDON — U.S. media giant Comcast on Wednesday offered $30.7 billion for Sky PLC, topping a bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and setting up a bidding war for Britain’s biggest satellite TV company.Comcast said it would pay approximately $17...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Pasco County

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Pasco County

TRINITY — Pasco County will be getting its first Sprouts Farmers Market, the organic grocery chain announced Wednesday. The new store will open at the Village at Mitchell Ranch on State Road 54 and Little Road. Officials with the speciality st...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Circle K launching own gas at eight Hillsborough locations

Circle K launching own gas at eight Hillsborough locations

TAMPA — Circle K is converting the gas station portion of eight of its Hillsborough locations to Circle K fuel. Previously, the fuel was provided by other brands, such as Shell. The new Circle K branding also brings with it the Canadian-owned conveni...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida has the strongest residential building codes among 18 coastal states, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Florida’s rating is 95, almost three times higher than lowest-ranked Texas. Other states wit...
Published: 04/25/18
Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Times staffRedlining’ — banks’ refusal to make mortgage loans in certain areas — still has a huge effect on housing values even though the practice was banned 50 years ago. According to Zillow, a Tampa Bay house in a once-redlined area is worth less ...
Published: 04/25/18
Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

NOW OPEN: TEX-MEX CHAIN CHUY’SThe Austin, Texas-based Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opened its first Tampa restaurant on Tuesday, giving away free Chuy’s for two for a year to the first 50 customers. I know, we missed it, it’s a bummer, but we can still visit...
Published: 04/25/18
Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

CLEARWATER — Elected officials have talked about relocating City Hall from the downtown bluff for a good 30 years. Now there’s a jolt of urgency to actually do it.Voters backed a referendum in November that essentially greenlighted the $55 million re...
Published: 04/25/18