Disney gave Orange County tourism tax dollars a boost but there’s still a long way to go

New tourist development taxes still down 77% due to coronavirus

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond announced Thursday the county’s tourist development tax collection for the month of July was an improvement over the previous months and, as expected, Disney’s reopening appears to have made a positive impact.

The latest numbers show that the county collected almost $5.2 million in July of 2020. But, that’s down 77% compared to July of 2019. Tourist development taxes or TDT, come from hotel and lodging stays within Orange County. TDT dollars go toward funding county tourism-related projects such as the Orange County Convention Center.

“The worldwide pandemic continues to weigh heavily on the tourism industry and the unemployment rate in this area reflects that,” Diamond said.

The hotel tax in June was $2.6 million, $1.1 million in May and April brought in just $750,000.

“Even though we are increasing, we haven’t gotten anywhere near where we were last year, or where we’d like to be,” said Diamond.

Statistics show that Orange County tourism tax numbers were much higher in 2019, the dramatic drop this year is due to the coronavirus.

Statewide tourism is down 60.5% from April to June, compared to this same time last year, according to Visit Florida.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron Desantis and Visit Florida announced a new in-state tourism marketing campaign, encouraging more Floridians to travel statewide to help the economy bounce back.

Meantime, Justin Norvell, the National Director of Operations for Florida Top Golf locations, said the company’s location on International Drive is bouncing back from COVID-19 and welcome the business.

“Enhanced safety protocols and our team commitment to providing a safe environment for our guests,” Norvell said. “Hopefully driving some tourism back in the market as we close out the year 2020.”

Read more about the Orange County Tourism Tax updates HERE: (Robert sent out an email late today from the Comptroller’s Office.)

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.