Record Year for Polk County Tourism Tax Collections
First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2015 Numbers Reflect a Continuance of the Record Pace
Auburndale, FL (January 6, 2015) – Fiscal year 2013-14 tourism tax collections increased 12% over 2012-13 collections, setting a new record of tourism taxes collected in a year. Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing’s 2014 fiscal year tourism tax collections totaled more than $7.7 million, continuing a five year trend of tourism tax collection growth dating back to the 2010 fiscal year. The 2014 fiscal year tourism tax collections eclipsed the previous record of $7.3 million set in fiscal year 2008. Ten of the twelve months in fiscal year 2014 saw strong increases in tourism tax collected of 10% or more with only two months, October 2013 and July 2014, experiencing single digit revenue increases of 9% and 7% respectively.
“These results are a testament that our annual tourism marketing plan and our sports event recruitment strategies are working in concert to drive visitation to Polk County throughout the year,” said Mark Jackson, director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing.
Tourism tax revenues are not the only metric utilized to assess the health of the area’s tourism industry, Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing utilizes numerous performance measures and metrics. Smith Travel Research’s accommodation measurement standards of Average Daily Rate; RevPAR and Occupancy Rate, also directly reflect the health of visitation to an area.
A number of factors have contributed to the growth in tourism revenues reported during the first third of the fiscal year including the continued success of LEGOLAND Florida, the world-wide interest within the golf community of the highly ranked golf courses at Streamsong Resort and a very harsh winter in the northern states in 2014. The increasing effectiveness of Visit Central Florida’s digital marketing programs, the development of marketing platforms targeting the Latin American Market and the efficient targeting of key domestic and in-state visitor markets continue to pay dividends by drawing overnight visitation from a wide range of domestic and international markets.
Polk County Sports Marketing’s ability to diversify the type of youth and collegiate events that are hosted in Polk County is also garnering strong returns. Polk County has always been a top destination for the nation’s best competitions in the traditional stick and ball sports including: baseball (RussMatt Central Florida Collegiate Baseball Invitational), softball (Rebel Spring Games) and soccer (FYSA Region’s Cup, State Cup and President’s Cup competitions). Polk County Sports marketing has made great strides in attracting more non-traditional sporting competitions including: practical shooting (Universal Shooting Academy regional, state and national championships), lacrosse (Spring Break Sports Inc. lacrosse spring training), rugby (American Collegiate Rugby Association Women’s National Championship) and fishing (Florida BASS Association State Championship, Fishers of Men Southeastern Regional Championship). In total Polk County Sports marketing hosted 220 sporting events in fiscal year 2013-14 that generated more than $130 million in economic impact.
Fiscal year 2014-15 tourism tax collections have started out very strong buoyed by three international events that occurred during the first quarter of the fiscal year: International Practical Shooting Confederation World Shoot, UIM World Boat Racing Championships and the Paintball Sport Promotions World Cup. With the first quarter of the fiscal year completed, 2014-15 is shaping up to make a strong run to topple the 2013-14 fiscal year tourism tax collections record. October 2014 tourism tax collections increased 11% over October 2013 collections and November 2014 collections increased 18% over 2013 levels.
“With this summer’s opening of the LEOGOLAND Florida Resort and some of our largest events still on the horizon (Detroit Tigers Spring Training, Ironman 70.3 Florida, Sun N Fun International Fly In) all indications point to remaining on pace for another record setting year for tourism in Polk County,” Jackson said.
Contact: Al Snow
Central Florida Sports Marketing