July tourism numbers are up 50.84% over July 2010. The bed tax revenue numbers just came in and they confirm what we all knew already. This summer was the busiest tourism summer Panama City Beach has ever seen.
True, the 50% compares to last year, a tourism season that was dramatically down due to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that devastated local businesses. But, when comparing July of 2011’s numbers to July of 2009 – we’re still an astounding 29% up!
These numbers are derived from actual bed tax collections. Each transient short-term rental is required to register with the local bed taxing authority and pay a 5% tax on all accommodations. The 1st, 2nd and 4th are proportioned for promotion of the beach (it funds the TDC). The 3rd is only for beach renourishment and the 5th was directly tied to bringing a low-cost carrier to Panama City Beach and expires April 2014.
July 2009 – 2,302,863.86
July 2010 – 1,967,020.33
July 2011 – 2,966,961.49
This past July, many beach accommodations reported a completely sold out inventory. Many calls up and down the beach netted no vacancies. Many speculate that this summer’s growth was indicative of a large pent-up demand for our area that stemmed from last year’s environmental disaster. Other’s state that we’re just making up for lost ground. Either way, we’re still expecting to see growth next year, but more along the lines of a normal 10 to 15% growth in bed tax collections.