Omicron fuels roller coaster ride for January tourist tax receipts in Orange County

January collections were lower than December 2021 collections by $5.8 million

Tourism tax receipts were up for January in Orange County, but hotels did not bring in as much money as they did in December. (Universal Orlando Resort)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County’s tourist development tax had a much better January compared to 2021, but lower compared to last December.

Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond announced that the county tourist development tax receipts were $22,414,000, an increase of over 189% compared to January of last year.

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It was lower than the January 2020 collections by $3.6 million.

Last month, Diamond announced collections from the tourism development tax in Orange County broke a record in December 2021, with $28,244,100 collected that month.

The January collections were lower than the December 2021 collections by $5.8 million.

Visit Orlando attributes the drop in tourism tax dollars due to the impact of the omicron variant of COVID-19, as well as “seasonal travel patterns.”

The tourism development tax comes from hotel rooms and other lodgings. Visit Orlando said hotel occupancy in January for the Metro Orlando area averaged about 59%.

By comparison, hotel occupancy was 34.8% in 2021, and 74.5% in Jan. 2019.

Visit Orlando believes February tax collections will be higher because of winter breaks and major conventions. Those numbers will be released at the beginning of April. The tourism agency also says advance hotel bookings for March are running at 82% of pre-pandemic levels right now.

About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.