Photo: Visit Tampa Bay
Visit Tampa Bay Surpasses $30M in Tourist Development Collections Despite Challenging Year for Tourism
DMO continues to narrow deficit gap through recovery efforts
Tampa, FL. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Visit Tampa Bay closes out an unprecedented fiscal year as Hillsborough County reached $30M in Tourist Development collections, a 14 percent decrease versus prior year.
The September collections totaled $1,579,257, a 45.12 percent decrease over the previous record for August, set in the previous year. However, a strong start to the fiscal year brought overall FY20 collections to $30,420,558, a 14.09 percent decrease versus prior year. Additionally, hotel occupancy closes out at 49 percent for the fiscal year, a 34.6 percent decrease over prior year.
“We are finally starting to see our deficit gap narrow month to month,” say Santiago C. Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “As recently as February 2020, we were achieving record-breaking months and now we are pleased to be ahead of the ‘recovery curve’ against our competitive set.”
According to STR Inc., hotel occupancy in Tampa Bay has consistently ranked ahead of its competitive set, including major U.S. cities like Austin, Long Beach, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. With the fall season underway, the destination marketing organization continues to target lower funnel conversions to bring every possible dollar to its community.
Visit Tampa Bay has been active in marketing the destination and adjusting advertising markets and budgets to navigate the shifting travel landscape. To date, the recovery campaign has generated over 45,500 incremental hotel bookings producing more than $4.9M in hotel revenue over the past four months.
The campaign will continue to impact local tourism with additional support from the CARES Act. Following federal regulations, which allows CARES Act funds to be applied toward economic recovery through tourism marketing, Hillsborough County approved the additional funding for the destination’s recovery campaign. The campaign is scheduled to run through the end of the calendar year.
“We are extremely grateful that tourism marketing is considered an approved and appropriate use of CARES Act funding through Hillsborough County,” says Corrada. “Last year, tourism pumped nearly $7 billion into Tampa Bay’s economy. We are very lucky to work alongside a County that understands the value of tourism and the pivotal role it plays in its very own recovery.”
According to Longwoods International, traveler confidence continues to rebound. The most recent tracking study of American travelers shows the percentage of those confident in traveling outside their communities jumped to 49 percent, the highest level since early May. And the percentage of those confident in dining in local restaurants and shopping in local stores is also up to 48 percent, the highest level since the low of 31 percent in mid-May. More than two-thirds of American travelers have travel plans in the next six months.
ABOUT VISIT TAMPA BAY
The heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast beats in Tampa Bay. Visit Tampa Bay encourages adventurous travelers to unlock sun, fun and culture in Florida’s most diverse travel destination. As a not-for-profit corporation certified by Destinations International’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP), we work with hundreds of partners to tell the world the story of Tampa Bay. Treasure awaits.