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Visit Tampa Bay starts fiscal year strong thanks to bed tax hike

Tax increase added nearly $1 million in revenue so far.

TAMPA — Hillsborough County’s decision to up its tax on overnight stays has added nearly $1 million in revenue already.

Visit Tampa Bay, the nonprofit that markets the destination and tracks bed tax revenue, is only a couple of months into its new fiscal year. The latest report covers tax earnings from September and October overnight stays. The group collected about $6 million total from the tourism tax in that period.

The county began collecting 6 percent — rather than 5 percent — on overnight stays on Aug. 1.

The county collected more than $3 million through October’s overnight stays — the first time it has collected that high a number outside of its peak months January through April.

"These numbers show us starting our new budget year with a bang,” CEO and president of Visit Tampa Bay Santiago C. Corrada said in a statement.

The tax revenue is used to fund Visit Tampa Bay’s marketing efforts, but also helps fund county projects and properties such as the convention center or Amalie Arena.

Corrada says with events coming up — from the Outback Bowl, Gasparilla and WrestleMania 36 — he expects Visit Tampa Bay to break its visitor records come 2020.