Tousist revenue drops for third consecutive month

Latest bed tax figures for Sarasota County show 12 percent drop in October compared with October 2017. Hotels of all tiers are reporting that their business is down.

Numbers documenting the devastating financial impact of red tide continued to roll in this week.

The latest bed tax collection figures for Sarasota County show that in October the county collected just over $1 million, a 12 percent drop compared with the same month last year. It’s the third straight month of decline in revenue for the tourist tax, which fell by 31 percent in September and almost 20 percent in August, according to the most recent data from the tax collector.

The bed tax, formally known as the tourist development tax, is a 5 percent charge on the revenue from short-term rentals countywide. In Sarasota, it’s divided up to pay for beach maintenance and renourishment, the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. at Nathan Benderson Park, promotions, the county’s two spring training sports stadiums and the arts.

Collections of the bed tax also provide a good indicator of the health of the local tourism industry.

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