Despite a very dismal looking outlook at the beginning of the summer, the actual numbers for June are showing nearly even bed tax collections this year, compared to last year. In June, a total of $1,88,269.21 was collected. This compares to $1,946,037.92 in tax revenue that was collected in June of 2009. The actual variance is just over $61,000, or -3.17%.
This was an interesting summer, we had tons of things lined up to all but guarantee the best summer tourist season we’ve had in years. Ironically, right before the season began, there was what some may call a monstrous accident just a few short hundred miles away. After a summer of weekly and even daily threats, the damaged perception left our local industry practically starving for business and pleading with their customers to keep their reservations. The rental climate changed from one of knowing how the numbers were going to be all summer before Memorial Day, to guessing what the next week would hold for rental revenue. Shops and restaurants had no idea what to expect, but were bracing for the worst. Talking to retailers and resorts, numbers were way off this year. Obviously some fared better than others, but overall most suffered to some degree.
But lets get back to the bed tax numbers. The numbers were only down 3.17% this year. That doesn’t seem all bad, right? Well, you have to consider that a deficit of any amount is going to spread hurt across the board. You have to consider that with any new additions to the rental or retail inventory, plus some businesses ability to reach their customers over other businesses, that 3.17% can mean quite a different story for different people.
All in all, I think we are blessed to have done as well as we did, in Panama City Beach, despite the looming threat that impaled the perception of our beach this summer. Hopefully next year no outside forces will impede all the work that has been put into increasing our local tourism business.
July’s numbers should be out within the week, which will be the real test to see how the summer really fared. Stay tuned!