Gulf of Mexico

Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater hit new tourism revenue records for March

From the white sand beaches of Clearwater to the festivals in Tampa, the area has reported tourism growth.

Tampa and Hillsborough County marked the highest amount of tourism revenue in its history. The county received more than $4.3 million in tourist development funds, also known as bed taxes, from overnight stays during March, which is 5.6 percent above the record for last March, Visit Tampa Bay reported.

“With several major festivals and key conventions, March has always been our strongest month for visitors," Visit Tampa Bay CEO and President Santiago Corrada said in a statement.

The tourism marketing arm for Tampa Bay credited the revenue boost to events such as Gasparilla, Tampa Bay Beer Week and the Florida Thespians Festival.

Traveling tourists and spring training also contributed.

Hotel occupancy for the month averaged 87.5 percent. Revenue per available room, a key indicator of hotel profitability, was up 2.6 percent to $132.69. Overall hotel revenues exceeded $93.8 million for the month, more than 5 percent over the previous March, according to VTB's press release.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's data showed even larger tourism revenue. The area's March collections were $9.5 million, a 7.25 percent increase year-over-year.

“We’re home to America’s Nof. 1 beach for the second year in a row and we’ve been touting that in all of our marketing efforts,” Leroy Bridges, vice president of digital and communications for VSPC, said in a prepared statement.

There were 563,216 rooms sold, a 0.6 percent increase, and revenue per available room was $187.58, a 5.5 percent increase.

Florida overall sold 11.7 rooms this March, which was a more than 3 percent increase.

See Tampa Bay Business Journal article . . .