In a remarkable display of resilience and growth, St. Pete/Clearwater has set a new precedent in the tourism industry by amassing over $98 million in hotel bed tax collections for the fiscal year 2023. This impressive feat underlines the region’s appeal as a top-tier travel destination, contributing significantly to the local economy.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater President/CEO Brian Lowack expressed immense pride in this achievement, attributing it to the collaborative efforts of the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater team, the Tourist Development Council, the Board of County Commissioners, and the local community partners. Their concerted endeavours have elevated the region’s status on the global tourism map, making it a magnet for travellers seeking pristine beaches and unique experiences.
The fiscal year 2023 saw the destination generate nearly $1.1 billion in local hotel revenue, a $30 million increase from the previous year and a staggering $200 million surge over 2019. This growth was complemented by an overall destination accommodations revenue exceeding $1.6 billion, factoring in motels, RVs, and online vacation rental sites.
Occupancy rates soared, with close to 6 million hotel rooms booked, marking an increase of over 100,000 rooms from 2022 and nearly 220,000 more than in 2019. This surge in occupancy reflects the destination’s growing popularity and the successful marketing strategies implemented by the local tourism board.
Janet C. Long, Pinellas County Commission Chair and Tourist Development Council Chair, highlighted the ongoing investments across the county. These include new hotels, dining options, and entertainment venues, all aimed at perpetuating the upward trajectory of the tourism industry in the region and long praising Brian’s leadership and the TDC’s vigour in identifying and capitalizing on opportunities for further growth.
Despite the challenges posed by Hurricane Idalia during the Labor Day weekend, St. Pete/Clearwater wrapped up the year with a strong September, witnessing a 2.4% increase in hotel bed tax funds compared to September 2022. This resilience is a testament to the region’s robust disaster preparedness and recovery strategies.
The hotel bed tax, a 6% levy on all short-term accommodation rentals, is crucial in funding projects that bolster tourism. Visitor-generated taxes are channelling funds into emergency shoreline restoration, beach renourishment, and the county’s contribution to the new Tampa Bay Rays Stadium.
St. Pete/Clearwater’s achievements have not gone unnoticed in the hospitality sector. The region boasts numerous accolades, including Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 10 Hotels in Florida and Top 15 Resorts, Dr. Beach’s Best Beaches in the U.S., and Southern Living’s Best Historic Hotel in Florida. These recognitions reflect the destination’s commitment to providing exceptional experiences to its visitors.
As St. Pete/Clearwater continues to evolve and expand its tourism infrastructure, it sets a shining example for other destinations aiming to harness the power of tourism for economic growth and community development.
For more information, visit FromVisitorsWithLove.com.
Written by: Matthew Thomas
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