SEBRING, Fla. (June 5, 2019) – The Highlands County Tourist Development Council (TDC) data from the Florida Department of Revenue showed a record high collection in Highlands County tourist tax revenues of $206,212 for the month of March 2019, which is the highest amount collected by the Highlands County TDC in one month. The Tourist Tax is paid by visitors who stay in hotels or short-term rentals for six months or less. It is not paid by Highlands County residents.

In August, the TDC increased its tax on hotel and short-term rentals from 2% to 4%; however, the $206,212 collected in March 2019 is not just double, but almost three times the amount collected in March 2018 of $73,431. And it is nearly 2.5 times as much as the amount collected in March 2016 of $85,800, which was the highest amount collected in one month until March 2019.

The TDC subscribes to a hotel data service, Smith Travel Research (STR), that reports monthly on Hotel Occupancy and Average Daily Rate (ADR) at about half of the county’s hotels. The report for March 2019 showed a slight dip in occupancy, but a $22 increase in ADR indicating that the substantial increase in March 2019 revenues came from hotel room rates increasing.

“The data shows us that while occupancy is down slightly – as is the trend across Florida and the U.S – the demand for rooms is still high enough that hoteliers were able to increase their ADR by $22 in March,” said TDC Chair Jim Brooks. “The TDC is pleased to hit this monthly collection milestone that indicates a strong and growing tourism economy in Highlands County.”

The mission of the TDC is to promote Highlands County as a friendly, attractive and diverse destination for tourism, thus creating a positive economic impact benefiting the entire community. It serves as a destination marketing organization (DMO) that works to generate overnight stays, increase tax revenues, stimulate economic growth and strives to constantly enhance the image of Highlands County. For more information, call (863) 402-6909 or visit www.VisitSebring.com.