ORLANDO, Fla. — April could be the worst month on record for resort tax revenue in Orange County, according to Comptroller Phil Diamond.
What You Need To Know
- Orange County's resort tax revenue seeing major impacts from COVID-19
- RELATED: As Florida Reopens, Hotels Struggle With Next Step
April was the first full month our economy was essentially closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, from theme parks to vacation rentals to hotels.
It’s new frontier for the hundreds of resorts and short-term rentals in Central Florida- a frontier that’s come at a devastating financial cost.
In March, Orange County’s tourist development tax collections dropped 56.5%- a loss of more than $17.5 million that month alone.
When asked if April could set another record, Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond had this to say: "I think it’s going to be a number that could set a record or records.”
In March, Orange County reported collections were behind last year’s pace by more than $7 million — number that will likely continue to grow.
At Wyndham Destinations, the typical occupancy rate is 90%.
In March, as tourists stopped coming that rate dropped to 0%, creating an economic ripple effect.
Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort officially re-opened to guests on Tuesday at 25% occupancy rate.
Kevin Maciulewisz, Senior Vice President of Resort Operations at Wyndham Destinations said revenue comes from “not only from the tourists coming in but the jobs that it creates. Even Wyndham vacation clubs with thousands of associates in Orlando alone getting them back to work is a wonderful thing.”
Tourism-generated taxes are used for community projects and helping places like the Orange County Convention Center bring major conventions to town.
As many hotels slowly reopen, tax revenue will start to climb, but Phil had this word of caution, “This is all subject to the virus. Before families come down, before people want to come take vacation, I think they want to know they’re going to be safe.”
April’s tourism development tax report will be released early next month.