Orange County leaders plan to give $560M in tourism tax dollars to convention center

UCF could receive $90 million for sports tower

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County leaders on Tuesday decided to move forward with a plan to give $560 million in tourism tax dollars to the Orange County Convention Center and $90 million toward a UCF sports tower.

Officials discussed how to spend millions in tourism tax dollars at a meeting where five major projects were presented:

  • Orange County Convention Center
  • Amway Center
  • Florida Citrus Sports Camping World Stadium
  • UCF athletic facilities
  • Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

The group will reconvene at a date to be determined to further discuss Amway, DPAC and Camping World Stadium.

Once it’s determined which projects will receive funding, the Tourism Development Council will decide whether to approve it before the matter heads to the Orange County Commission for a final budget vote.

Earlier in the day, Mark Tester, executive director of the Orange County Convention Center, said events at the facility were going well, but added that things could be even better.

“The conventions that we are hosting have all come back and they’re finding value,” he said, adding that more space is needed. “We have lost hundreds of events over the years that we have not been able to bid on because they simply won’t fit in the north or south building.”

He said the tourism money would be a big boost to the convention center.

“It would be hundreds of events that we have not been able to bid on and book because of the facility,” he said.

Last week, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings cited a “conservative estimate” of future Tourism Development Tax revenue.

“The Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond has been very, very conservative. His estimate of what the tourist development tax revenues would be in the coming years. There’s a little bit of volatility in the market space now in terms of tourism because of many reasons, the economy, some of the political issues and sensitivities, because of travel advisories that have been issued by different groups,” Demings said.

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Tax revenue from tourism has decreased in Orange County for the last several months.

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About the Authors:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.