Through August, the figure beats the 2015 total by $882,000
With only one month’s data left to be compiled, Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue has set a new record, the latest figures from the Tax Collector’s Office show.
Through Sept. 30, the county had received a total of $19,162,517.64 in TDT collections, the office’s report says. That surpasses the final figure of $19,076,500.79 for the 2015 fiscal year, which was a jump from the 2014 fiscal year total of $16,979,976.37.
Through Sept. 30, the overall increase over the 2015 fiscal year total is $882,135.18, the report shows.
The data for September is expected to be available in early November. However, while the fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, fine-tuning of reports generally leads to changes in numbers more than a month after the entities that collect the tax provide their data, Tax Collector’s Office staff has explained to The Sarasota News Leader.
Earlier this year, for example, a lag in some reports indicated a lower figure for June TDT collections than the Tax Collector’s Office received in June 2015. After all the data had been provided to the staff, the number ended up rising.
That could prove to be the situation for August, as well. The latest figures show the TDT total for August was $941,548.70, a $17,725.71 decline from the figure for August 2015.
Every other monthly figure for the 2016 fiscal has shown growth year-over-year, though the April figure marked the lowest increase. Total collections of $1,826,166.97 were down by $4,856.86 compared to the number for April 2015.
Once again, Siesta Key entities that collect TDT revenue led the way in August, with 32.59% of the total. The city of Sarasota remained in second place, with 29.88%. The city of North Port remains at the figurative bottom of that chart, bringing in 0.37% of the revenue.
Data collected for the county’s tourism office, Visit Sarasota County, show continuing positive changes for the third quarter of this fiscal year — the latest figures available.
The total number of visitors from April through June was 342,600, up 0.8% from the same period of the 2015 fiscal year. Their direct spending marked an even bigger increase — 1.8%. The amount for the 2016 third quarter was almost $250 million, compared to $245,349,000 for the third quarter of the 2015 fiscal year.
The overall economic impact of those visitors’ time in Sarasota County also was up 1.8% for the third quarter of this fiscal year, compared to the same period of the 2015 fiscal year. The figure for this year was $412,121,900.
The consultant that handles the data collection and reports for Visit Sarasota County — Downs & St. Germain Research — uses a specific formula to determine direct spending and economic impact, the document notes.
Of the tourists surveyed by the firm in the third quarter, 99% voiced satisfaction with their trips, up 6% from the 2015 fiscal year third-quarter report. However, 89% said they planned to return, while in the third quarter of 2015, 97% affirmed intent to come back to Sarasota County.
The only negative changes overall between the two third-quarter reports related to occupancy and room rates. For that period in 2016, the occupancy level of hotels/motels/condominiums was 72.3%; in the third quarter of 2015, the figure was 73.2%. The average room rate had fallen 45 cents for the period this year, to $173.61.
New York City was the top originating city for visitors in the third quarter of this fiscal year: 9.9%. The Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg area was in second place with 6.5%, and the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area accounted for 4.9% of tourists.
The Northeast was home to the majority of visitors in the third quarter — 126,910 — but that was down 2.9% in comparison with the third quarter of 2015.
The greatest decline — 14.5% — was recorded for international tourists from areas other than Canada, the United Kingdom, Central Europe and other European countries.
However, the number of visitors from other Florida communities was up 7.9%, and the figure for those originating in Southeastern states besides Florida was up 7.7%.
Of all the attractions on a list compiled for Visit Sarasota County, the top one for tourists in the third quarter of this fiscal year was St. Armands Circle, at 29%, followed by the Unconditional Surrender statue on the Sarasota bayfront at 18%. Mote Marine Aquarium and the Ringling Museum of Art were tied for third with 9%.