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Despite Ian, September set records for Orange County tourist tax revenue

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Tourist development taxes are collected on hotels and other short-term rentals.

County Comptroller Phil Diamond said tourist development tax collections for September were more than $24 million, a 48.6 percent increase over the same period in 2021.

Despite the destruction brought Hurricane Ian, Orange County’s tourism industry saw an increase in tax revenue in September resulted in the most collected for the month on record.  

County Comptroller Phil Diamond on Thursday said tourist development tax collections for this past September were more than $24 million, a 48.6 percent increase over the same period in 2021.

Month-over-month, September collections were higher than August collections by $1 million. They were also higher than September 2020 collections by $17.4 million.

Tourist development taxes are collected on hotels and other short-term rentals.  Diamond credited the revenue increase on strong hotel demand and a "robust" daily rate, highest for any September.

Visit Orlando’s Denise Spiegel says the area was able to continue to attract tourists despite the downgraded hurricane bringing major structural damage, heavy rains and inland flooding through Central Florida late September, nearly 150 miles away from its landfall as a a Category 4 storm near Fort Myers.

“The occupancy for that week actually peaked on Wednesday, the evening of the hurricane, and so occupancy there was just under 70 percent. And then, you know, it went back up fairly quickly. So when we look ahead, you know, to October, the month of October has been performing exceptionally well.”

She credited several landmark local events.

“There’s a variety of factors. There was a school holiday break in October. There are also several events at the convention center, there was a Come Out with Pride festival and our destination has a fabulous array of Halloween events that are very popular as well.”

Spiegel says, so far, bookings for the upcoming holiday season that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's are a bit slower, but are beginning to pick up. 

Copyright 2022 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur