INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – If it seems like hotels, restaurants, and shops have been more than normal this year, you’re right.
It was a stellar year for Indian River County’s tourism, with tourism development tax generating more than $ 1 million above projections.
For 2020-21, the county coffers received an additional $ 1.1 million, or 36.1% more than expected.
“Tourism tax revenue accumulated during fiscal year 20-21 is an all-time record,” said Budget Manager Kristin Daniels. “Despite the ongoing pandemic and the rise of the Delta variant during the summer months, Indian River County amassed $ 3,641,578 in tourist tax revenue. This surpassed prior year collections by nearly $ 1 million and pre-pandemic levels in fiscal 2018-2019 by $ 700,000. “
Tourism tax revenue is also $ 965,000, or 36% more than it was in 2019-20.
Hotels, short term rentals, restaurants, arts, history, and culture institutions, and sports venues have all benefited from the surge in tourism as more visitors than ever come to Indian River County. An above-average September added to the windfall, with earnings soaring $ 42,020, or 25.3%, from last September.
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The 4% tourism development tax, also known as bed tax, is levied on hotel, holiday rental and resort stays of less than six months. The bed tax levies in January and from April to September 2021 are described by Daniels as record-high levies.
The county had previously collected the largest amount of tourist tax revenue in 2017-18, when surveys totaled $ 3,017,884, Daniels said.
The county planned a bed tax of approximately $ 2.5 million for fiscal 2021, which ended in September. Funds will be allocated to the Jackie Robinson Training Center, beach renewal projects, and the Indian River Counties and Sebastian Chambers of Commerce.
Funding from other tourism advancement organizations – such as the Cultural Council of Indian River County, the Treasure Coast Sports Commission, and the Indian River County Historical Society – will increase from $ 945,000 this year to $ 1.2 million in 2021-22 . These allocations were made in May before the current windfall was realized.
Janet Begley is a local freelance writer. If you like articles like this and other TCPalm coverage of Treasure Coast news, please support our journalism and subscribe now.