County Revenue From Tourism Taxes Rise
By Tiffany Miller
Tourism-related taxes pumped nearly $4 million into Miami-Dade’s economy in November, an increase of more than a half-million dollars from the same month the previous year, according to county officials.
The county reaped $2.5 million in convention development taxes in November, a 17.5% increase; $1 million in tourist development room taxes, a 14% increase; and about $400,000 in tourist development food and beverage taxes, a 16% increase.
David Morris, Miami-Dade County office of management and budget director, said he is "cautiously optimistic" and sees recent months as good news but would prefer to look at the entire year.
"I look forward to seeing the numbers for next month," he said.
Mr. Morris said collections related to tourism taxes dipped with the country’s recession in early 2001 but took a serious dive after 9/11.
"We’ve been below level (projections) for a couple of years," he said.
Stuart Blumberg, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Hotel & the Beaches Hotel Association, said this week that the increase in revenue proves Miami-Dade County is bouncing back from the post-9/11 plunge.
He said tourism revenue is directly related to war, weather and the economy.
The increase in tax revenues is related to recent increases in hotel-room occupancy and other tourism-driven sales. The county filled an average 64.7% of its rooms during the holiday season beginning Nov. 30 and ending Jan. 3. That’s a 5.1% increase from the same period in 2002.
Florida averaged a 55.7% hotel-occupancy rate during that time, a 4.7% increase. Nationally, 47.2% of rooms were occupied, a 2.3% increase.