Summer tourist tax numbers down in Daytona Beach

Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, some cities in the Panhandle have seen numbers decline

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach is the latest Florida city to find less tourists paying it a visit. Volusia County tourism tax collections show the numbers dropped in May and June consecutively.

Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and some cities in the Panhandle have seen this, too.

2022 was a record-breaking year for Volusia County tourism, but this year hotel parking lots aren’t looking as full.

“We’re not hurting. Our numbers may be down, our occupancy is a little bit less than it should be,” said Bob Davis, President of the Lodging and Hospitality Association of Volusia County.

Volusia’s most recent tourism tax collection numbers for June were down 11.5% compared to June last year. That follows a 5.8% percent dip in May compared to May 2022.

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“People are spending money. That’s not the issue. It’s just that they’ve pulled back on vacations in the state of Florida,” Davis said.

Davis said he’s heard a number of reasons for that and one may be that several of the big oceanfront hotels are still recovering from last fall’s hurricanes.

“We’re still rebuilding. Some hotels have no beach access, and some don’t have pools,” he said.

The issue is happening statewide. Orange County saw a 6.7% drop in May this year compared to last year.

“We knew that at some point that was going to reset, we actually thought it would a little earlier than this,” said Lori Campbell Baker, Executive Director of the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Campbell Baker said the post-pandemic boom led people to wide-open Florida last year. Now, she said, people are going much further.

One travel insurance company even estimates American travel to Europe is up 55% this summer.

“People who haven’t maybe taken their vacations in the last couple of years are taking the bucket list trips,” Campbell Baker said.

To combat this, she said they are boosting adverting across the country and looking to conventions.

“Can we find meetings and conventions in groups that can come in and soften the blow and we’re seeing some successes already,” she said.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.