PETER CRANIS: Brevard County Tourist Development Tax Tops $13 Million for Fiscal Year
By Space Coast Daily // November 6, 2020
The year was a roller coaster with COVID-19 seriously interrupting and impacting tourism
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Tourist Development Tax collections for the fiscal year, October 2019 through September 2020, have come in at $13.07 million.
This is an 18.5 percent decline over the prior fiscal year.
The September tax collections came in at $900,330 which was only .5 percent down from the prior September.
The year was a roller coaster with COVID-19 seriously interrupting and impacting tourism.
Peter Cranis, Executive Director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism, said that from October 2019 to February 2020, the tax collection was tracking to have its best year in history, up at the time 14.6 percent.
Then as COVID struck, the losses mounted.
March was down 48 percent and April was off 77 percent as hotels were locked down and ordered not to accept tourists.
Then as businesses reopened, from May –through August, the summer was down 33 percent. September then matched up almost evenly with the prior September which experienced Hurricane Dorian over the Labor Day Weekend.
“I can’t say that I’m pleased with these final results,” said Cranis.
“Anytime you turn in a performance that is in the negative, it is difficult to be happy. But, considering everything we’ve been through, I’d say I’m a bit relieved that we did as well as we did. Other destinations like Orange and Osceola Counties in the Orlando area are hurting much more than us.”
Some other insights include management companies, which includes Airbnb, Home and Away and VRBO rentals, represented 17.5 percent of the total versus 13 percent in the prior year.
Also, hotels/motels in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral in the heart of the tourism district dropped from 40 percent of the total to 35.6 percent, showing the impact of lower tourism and no cruises sailing from the Port. All other areas maintained their share.
The Tourist Development Tax is a 5 percent tax assessed on all short-term rentals of 6 months or less, whether they be hotels, motels, RV parks, private condos or homes.
The original budget for the 2020/2021 fiscal year was $16.6 million but was revised in March down to $11 million.
As the actual results for each month came in, that budget was revised to account for additional revenue.