ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County has released the latest numbers for April’s tourism development tax revenue, and at $765, 900, it’s the lowest monthly amount ever collected by the county.
What You Need To Know
- Orange County tourism tax revenue hits record low
- Revenue fell 97 percent from same time last year
- Coronavirus pandemic impacted revenue
- RELATED: Orange County Tourism Development Tax Collections by Month
April 2020 numbers are down 97 percent from the same time a year ago. According to the Comptroller's Office, that’s comparable to what they collected in 1980.
The tourism development tax is what people pay when they book a hotel or motel room, or a short-term rental. As you can imagine, the ongoing pandemic has had a major impact to that tax revenue, since people have stopped coming here.
April was the first month when the tourism industry pretty much shut down, and now we're seeing that reflected in the tourist tax collection numbers—at just under $766,000. Compare that number to March when tax collections were just over $13.6 million, and January when that number was more than $25.5 million.
All of this revenue helps fund projects, organizations, and events in Orange County like the Orange County Convention Center, and programs for underprivileged children. But Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says the impact goes far beyond that.
"[Tourist Development Tax] will impact many because of loss of jobs, either loss of hours of their existing jobs and that means those individuals who are not working and spending—so some are going to be impacted directly," Demings said.
Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond says he expects May's numbers to be along the same lines as April's. Demings says many programs will have to go without in the future, but he expects revenue to rebound as Florida and the nation continue to reopen.
Orange County Programs, Facilities That Get TDT Funds
- Orange County Convention Center
- Visit Orlando: Advertising for Orange County tourism
- Community Venues: Amway Arena, Camping World Stadium, and Dr. Phillips Center – about $700 million in construction and renovation funds
- Arts Facilities: Orlando Ballet Harriett’s Ballet Center, OnePULSE Museum, Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Live, Orlando Science Center, Orange County Regional History Center, and Winter Park Library and Events Center
- Sports Events: Such as the NFL Pro Bowl, Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament at Bay Hill
- Local Arts Groups: Includes museums, theater groups, festivals, Orlando Opera, Bach Society, etc.