Tourism Tax Collections Continue Double Digit Increases

Spring Sports Events and Streamsong Resort Will Help Bolster an Already Record Pace

Auburndale, FL (February 28, 2014) – With one-third of the fiscal year completed, 2013-14 is shaping up to be a record year for Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. January 2014 tourism tax collections increased 15% over January 2013 collections, continuing a three-month trend of double-digit revenue gains when compared to 2012-13 fiscal year tourism tax collections. November and December revenue collections increased 10% from 2012 levels, with October 2013 being the only month to fall just shy of the double-digit level, posting a 9% revenue increase from the same period a year ago. Four months into the fiscal year tourism tax revenues reflect an 11% increase over last year’s results, and currently stand 6.67% above the revenues collected in the record setting year of 2007-08.

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. When comparing the first four months of fiscal year 2013-14 with the same period in 2012-13: the average daily rate charged by area hoteliers has increased 4.55%; hotel occupancy rates are up 12.8%; RevPar is up 12.8% and Total Revenue is up 18.85%.

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 the ongoing effectiveness of Visit Central Florida’s marketing platforms to draw overnight visitation from international and out of state visitors during the winter months. This year’s results do not yet reflect the influx of Detroit Tigers fans for spring training, or from the recent opening of the 216 room Lodge at Streamsong.

Polk County Sports Marketing’s extensive collegiate spring training event recruitment strategies will help insure that this year’s record setting pace will continue. This week marks the beginning of the RussMatt Central Florida Collegiate Baseball Invitational, which will bring more than 200 college baseball teams to Polk County through April 1, to begin their 2014 season. The Rebel Spring Games, a new event for Polk County and secured for a minimum of a ten year run, will add an additional 66 women’s college softball teams that will kick off their competitive seasons in Polk County during the month of March. While area baseball and softball diamonds will be busy, the Northeast Regional Park lacrosse fields will welcome 12 college and high school lacrosse programs during the four-week Spring Break Sports Inc. spring training program. Combined the participants, families and alumni from these three events will utilize more than 28,000 hotel room nights and contribute more than $32 million in economic impact to Polk County over the next six weeks.

“These results are a testament that our tourism marketing plan and our sports event recruitment strategies are working in concert to drive visitation to Polk County,” said Mark Jackson, director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. “With some of our largest events still on the horizon (Ironman 70.3 Florida, Sun N Fun International Fly In, FHYSAA Boys Basketball) all indications point to remaining on pace for a record setting year for tourism in Polk County.”

Contact: Kelly Rote
Visit Central Florida

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