he Wilmington Convention Center and the convention center hotel, Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau)

NC - Room occupancy tax numbers take a dive in April

Room occupancy tax numbers in the Wilmington area sank in April, as expected, because of measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

For New Hanover County, the countywide room occupancy tax (ROT) in April this year dropped by 87%, from nearly $1.3 million in April 2019 to $164,136 during the same month this year. That's according to numbers provided by the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Every taxable accommodation in New Hanover County, which includes hotels, motels, inns, room rentals, tourist camps or other short-term rentals, is subject to the 6% ROT rate.

For downtown's Wilmington Convention Center District by itself, the April drop in ROT amounted to a 95% decrease, said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo on Thursday. Those taxes fund the Wilmington Convention Center, which opened in November 2010.

"Over 10 years, we've built up a considerable amount of fund balance so we can take care of the mortgage payment on the convention center this year and we can take care of it for next year if we have to," Saffo said.

For the city overall, Saffo said, the ROT figures decreased 77%.

The disbursement of the first 3% of ROT collected in New Hanover, the city of Wilmington and the county's beach towns -- Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach -- breaks down to 60% going toward beach renourishment and 40% to the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, doing business as Wilmington and Beaches CVB.

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