Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond announced that Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections received by Orange County for November 2021 were $25,051,900, a 183.9 percent increase compared to November 2020.
Compared to last month, October, TDT collections went up about 3.6 percent dollars. Comptroller Diamond called it a “very nice increase” over October. Officials are pleased that numbers are almost to pre-COVID levels, saying it almost matched November 2019 totals. In fact, it was the second best November in the history of the TDT.
But there were also serious warnings due to rise of COVID-19 cases locally around Orlando.
“While that was welcome news, however, we do have to realize that the omicron variants’ recent rise is an unfortunate reminder that uncertainty and challenges lie ahead with the pandemic,” Comptroller Diamond warned. “As the pandemic and as the COVID numbers increase, I can guarantee you that TDT numbers will decrease.”
“When people up north see cold weather up there, when they see bad weather , they want to come to Florida,” Comptroller Diamond added. “But when they see rising COVID numbers, when they see that Florida is the leading state in the country as far as COVID infections, they’re going to cancel their trips.”
He even added a personal story that a friend told him their convention was cancelled as a result of the COVID spread. But there was some other good news too. There was a $2.1 million dollar increase in the TDT reserves last month, which is what officials wanted to see. There is a two-month time lag in the numbers, so they expect the strong November numbers to show an impact soon.
Additional month-to-month statistics include November 2021 collections being higher than October 2021 collections by $3.6 million, and November 2021 collections being lower than November 2019 collections by just $697,100. December information will be released next month.