Gulf of Mexico
People relax in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. Tourist tax collections for Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach accounted for 42.75% of total collections in Manatee County in May, the most recent numbers available. Islander Photo: Sandy Ambrogi

Tourist tax collections cool in May, summer hits peak

Totals rose over May 2018, but short-term rentals on Anna Maria Island weren’t as busy in May as during the spring break months of March and April.

Tourist tax collections for Manatee County were up for May 2019 over May 2018, according to the collection report released July 3 from the Manatee County Tax Collector.

Short-term rentals — those rented less than six months — generated $1,093,869.51 in May, up $147,645.80 over the May 2018 total of $946,223.71.

Holmes Beach led the island collections with $243,588.25 gross, accounting for 22.27% of tourist tax dollars collected in the county.

Anna Maria rentals generated $142,709.93, 13.05% of county collections.

Bradenton Beach short-term rentals generated 7.43% of the county collections for a total of $81,295.56.

A look at the tax collections in island cities from 2016-19 shows the city of Anna Maria increasing its tourist tax dollar contributions. Totals rose from $123,988.43 in 2016 to $129,095.37 in 2017 and $139,636.01 in 2018.

Bradenton Beach, the island city with the lowest tourist tax collection, topped out with $88,974.75 in 2017, then slid back to $79,584.21 in 2018. Bradenton Beach generated $73,749.69 in 2016.

Holmes Beach had its highest collection of tourist tax dollars in May 2016 at $244,402.58.

The city has failed to reach that May mark again, generating $195,997.20 in 2017 and $188,877.52 in 2018.

With the number of lodging rooms increasing, competition for customers continues to grow.

Walter Klages, of Research Data Services of Tampa, said the number of rooms in Manatee County increased 8.3% from 8,402 to 9,097 rooms between April 2018 and April 2019.

Meanwhile, stricter rental regulations and code enforcement rules continue to evolve.

And, tourists continue to travel to the shores of Manatee County, resulting in millions of dollars for the tax coffers.

The money is collected by the state and gets funded back. State law requires resort tax funds to be used for tourist-related projects.

The money funds the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Bradenton Area Convention Center, as well as ongoing tourism-related entities such as Realize Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and projects such as beach renourishment.

Tourist tax collections are reported in arrears, and May numbers were released July 3. June’s numbers will be released Aug. 1.

The county tourist tax rate is 5%. The tax, also known as the bed tax or resort tax, is collected on overnight rentals of less than six months.

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