ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County tourism leaders are hopeful following a Tourist Development Tax report that's just out for December 2020, usually one of the busiest months in Central Florida.

What You Need To Know

​December numbers show that people are staying in hotels, but of course, still not at pre-pandemic levels.

​The tourist development tax is collected from places like hotel rentals and apartment leases in Orange County for stays that are six months or less. That money goes right back into the local economy.

For December 2020, collections were nearly $10.6 million. That is still a 59% decrease in collections compared to December 2019.

This money helps places like the Orange County Convention Center bring conventions and guests into town.

Comptroller Phil Diamond said this increase is encouraging.

"This is the eighth consecutive month that monthly collections have gone up over the previous month since hitting rock bottom in April of last year," Diamond said.

That April 2020 rock bottom number was $765,000 collected for the month, the largest drop in county history.

For December 2020, the county is still seeing the lowest December collections since 2005.

"I think the real challenge going forward is going to be how to keep on increasing those numbers every month. December historically is always a good month, January has been good, other times it hasn't been good," Diamond said.

The county will have January numbers coming up in early March.