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Economy / Business

Biggest March Ever for Pinellas County Tourism

Pinellas_County_Beach.jpg

Pinellas County collected a record-setting $4.5 million from the county's bed tax in March.

That's the biggest March for tourism tax dollars in Pinellas County history.

In fact,  David Downing -- deputy director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater -- told the Tampa Bay Times that the $4.5 million collected is "the single highest-grossing month in the history of Pinellas County tourism — not just for March but for any month in any year."

The previous record of $4.18 million was set back in March 2008.

It's the latest bright spot in the county's recovery from a tourism drop caused by the recession and the after-effects  of the BP oil spill.

The Times reports that tourism taxes were up 7.5 percent last year in Pinellas County,  and seven of the last 12 months have been the highest ever recorded for those months.

Since October, Pinellas County tourism tax collections are up 12.6 percent.

Pinellas County collects a 5 percent bed tax which is included in hotel bills.

That money is used for upgrading beaches and for marketing.