Tourism

April hotel tax revenue shows Orange County tourism boom continues – Orlando Sentinel

Orange County’s tourism industry continued its growth in April, with the hotel tax generating the second-highest monthly revenue in collection history, according to figures released this morning by Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond.

On a monthly basis, April grosses are down about $3.9 million from March’s best of $38.5 million.

Income from the 6% tax on hotel room rates and other short-term stays is considered a good indicator of the state of tourism in Central Florida. The surcharge, sometimes known as the TDT or Tourism Development Tax, was first approved in 1979.

Speaking to the Tourism Development Council this morning, Diamond told the group that a nearly $4 million monthly drop in hotel tax revenue is usually bad news, but the latest numbers are very good news.

“April collections were the best April in history and also the second best month in tourism development tax history,” he said. “Also in context: two years ago was April 2020, tourism development month. [revenues] practically disappeared.”

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Tax receipts fell that same month to an all-time low of $765,900.

April 2020 was the first full month that Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and virtually every other tourist attraction in Central Florida were closed due to the risk of SARS-CoV-2, the contagious virus that causes COVID-19.

The respiratory disease is currently blamed for more than 1 million deaths in the US.

As with March numbers, April numbers were boosted by high hotel occupancy and high average daily room rates.

Hotel occupancy in April was 79.4% and the average daily rate was $169, second only to March’s record high of $173.32.

Keep for updates. This is a breakthrough story.

shudak@orlandosentinel.com

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