How should Orange County spend tourist tax dollars? New group will make suggestions

County brought in a record $366M+ in 2022 in tourist tax collections

ORLANDO, Fla. – A committee designed to review and make recommendations on Orange County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) met for the first time on Wednesday.

The Citizen Advisory Task Force is comprised of members from several different backgrounds, including government, trade groups, the hospitality industry and local chambers of commerce.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the goal of the committee is to give input on potential uses of TDT revenue, which is the 6% charge added to hotel stays.

“We need your assistance in helping us to establish the priorities for the expenditure of those tax revenues,” Demings said.

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The gathering came after the county set a record in 2022 by bringing in more than $336 million in TDT collections.

The pandemic forced a deficit in 2020 and 2021.

“Obviously that was an enormous hit, but once again there was great elasticity. Following that, tourism bounced back again,” said business services manager Fred Winterkamp.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the committee learned about state law requirements and previous uses for the tax.

In prior years, TDT revenue has been used on convention center improvements, professional sports facilities and tourism promotion.

Demings said the initial meeting lays the groundwork for reviewing organizations interested in future TDT funding.

The Citizen Advisory Task Force is scheduled to meet once a month for five months.

The committee is expected to present its recommendations to the Tourism Development Council and the Board of County Commissioners in July.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.