Crowds hit the beach at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach in this photo from September 2018. The first part of 2021 has been another record-breaking period for Carteret County occupancy tax revenues. (Cheryl Burke photo)

NC - Occupancy tax revenue continues to soar, breaks records in January, February, March

EMERALD ISLE — The boom in tourism and occupancy tax revenue in 2020 continued unabated through the winter quarter of 2021, according to Greg Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office.

“January 2021 beat the record set in January 2019 by 79.7%,” Mr. Rudolph said in an email Wednesday. “February 2021 surpassed the previous February high-water mark in 2020 by 45.4%, and March 2021 exceeded the March 2019 best by 97.7%.”

The total collections for those months this year were $299,728, $232,390 and $476,558, respectively.

Collectively, Mr. Rudolph said, “the first quarter of 2021 was up by an astounding 136% compared to the first quarter of last year, and although these winter months are considered ‘low revenue,’ the total quarterly collection was $1,008,677 in 2021 versus $428,219 in 2020.”

That’s an increase of $580,458.

“Granted, March 2020 was much impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Rudolph added. “Regardless, it is still very apparent we are experiencing a significant uptick in visitation, almost certainly predicated by changing vacationing patterns, remote-working opportunities and the relaxing of social-distancing restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” which struck the area in March 2020.

If you go by fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, the first nine months of 2020-21, July 2020 through March 2021, are up also up by 45.4% compared to the same point in time in fiscal 2019-20, at $7,428,416 compared to $5,114,560.

“In fact our collection through the first nine months in FY 2020-21 is already greater than that of the entire 2019-20 fiscal year, $7,271,245,” Mr. Rudolph said.

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