FL - Escambia County tourism officials hope for rebound as bed tax dollars drop by $1.24M

Tourism officials earlier this week got a look at how much Escambia County has lost in tourist development tax dollars so far due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they remained hopeful a projected uptick in bookings will help the industry rebound.

In March and April, tourist development tax collections were down almost $1.24 million compared to last year. It'll be another week before county staff know what the May numbers will look like, which are due June 20, but summer booking numbers are showing promise.

"Our prediction for May is that we're going to get closer to like 70% of what happened last year, and that right now, June and July and August actually look pretty good, very comparable to last year," said Visit Pensacola President Darien Schaefer, noting that prediction doesn't factor in what would happen if new travel restrictions were implemented.

The tourist development tax, or bed tax, is a tax on short-term rentals like hotels. The revenue it generates is spent on tourism-related activities.

Read the full story here.