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Hillsborough bed tax collections surge in May thanks to conventions, Lightning playoff games

Hillsborough County tourism development tax collections surged in May, thanks in part to the Tampa Bay Lightning's quest for the Stanley Cup.

Revenue from the tax on hotel stays was $2.39 million, up 31 percent from May 2014, according to Visit Tampa Bay, the county's tourism agency.

Meanwhile, hotel revenue in May reached $48.7 million with 65,000 room nights, which is up more than 10 percent from the same period in 2014, according to data from STR Inc., a firm that tracks the hotel industry.

Visit Tampa Bay credited the rise in summer travelers to the conventions that coincided with the Tampa Bay Lightning's NHL playoffs run, like the Assisted Living Federation of America's annual meeting and the National Defense Industrial Association conference, which took place in Tampa.

"We work with our industry partners to continue to push Tampa Bay to the top of our competitors, both as a destination and a brand," Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, said in a statement. "These new numbers show those efforts are paying off."

The report brings the county's total bed tax revenue to nearly $21 million for the first nine months of fiscal year 2015. That's more than 15 percent ahead of the pace from last fiscal year.

"We're glad Tampa Bay could play host to two NHL series and two major conventions simultaneously without a hitch," Corrada said.

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

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