Tourism traffic was definitely up in March of this year as indicated by the latest bed tax revenue monthly report. Year over year, March of this year was an astounding 19.4% up over last year. Looking closer reveals an even more astounding 38% increase over 2009, our last “low” point over the last 6 years. In Bay County there is a tax collected on each vacation rental revenue dollar that is calculated as 5% of the total base rent rate of each stay. This Bed Tax money is then appropriated to a variety of efforts to fund the general tourism marketing of our area. Some funds marketing, some funds operational costs of handling the marketing operations, some funds renourshing our beach, etc.
A close look at the numbers.
With the oil spill a couple years ago, there was a lot of uncertainty as to what direction our local tourism industry was going to go. Last year (2011 season) being the first year out of that catastrophe, and seeing a 3.7% decrease in year over year bed tax collections, many were heavily concerned with how the 2011 summer would fare. Of course, we know, summer 2011 was a record breaking season, so those fears fortunately, were unfounded. Total Bed Tax dollars collected for March of 2012 were $1,769,821.69. This is 5% total of all the room-night revenue reported. Broken down by single percentage, this would be $353,964.34 per point collected. The total bed tax revenue collected for March of 2011 was $1,482,498.95. Again, broken down by single percentage, this would be $296,499.79. In doing year over year increase calculations, it’s important to break down the total revenue collected by single percentage because beginning in the 2008/2009 tourism season, 5% was collected but before it was 3%. Here is the total breakdown for March for all previous years back to 2007.
- March 2010 – $1,539,121.49 – single point: $307,824.30 – 19.9% over previous year
- March 2009 – $1,026,521.85 – single point: $256,630.46 – -5.3% down previous year
- March 2008 – $813,079.54 – single point: $271,026.51 – 16.3% over previous year
- March 2007 – $699,028.94 – single point: $233,009.65
Projections for April 2012
We’ve already offered our general prediction over the average increase projections for tourism season 2012. March 2012 bed tax revenue numbers were amazing, and if that’s any indication of what we’ll see for April, then we’re on a fast track to an amazing tourism season for this summer. I can speak for my own vacation rental company (PCBLP) in that April was certainly record breaking. We had a much better April than we did last year, but it’s difficult for me to tabulate the source as we were just getting rolling last April. Looking at average increases for April bed tax revenue over the last 6 years, we should see a minimum of 7% increase this year over last year. But I’m betting on a more dramatic increase that is founded on what we’ve seen the last 3 years, which would be a healthy 15.4%. I’m projecting our 2012 April bed tax collections to be $1,404,017.44 – give or take 3%. I love making predictions. We’ll see how close I get!