Tourism tax collections in Orange County are down yet again in the latest report, which is the first time that there have been two consecutive months with year-over-year decreases since February 2021. Hotel occupancy and average daily rates are also down across Orlando.
Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond announced that Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections received by Orange County for May 2023 were $26,216,500. That is a 6.7% decrease compared to May 2022. According to Comptroller Diamond, the April 2023 TDT collection month were $33,643,600, and that was a 3.5% decrease compared to April 2022.
Metro Orlando’s hotel occupancy rate for May was 69.3%, down from 2.5% a year ago. Orlando’s hotel average daily rate (ADR) in May was $186, down from April’s $221 rate, but the Orange County Comptroller noted it was $6 higher than a year ago.
This was the first month since February 2021 that the convention hotel segment saw a decline in demand, according to officials. While the number of events at the Orange County Convention Center in May increased year over year, the groups were smaller, meaning less overall attendance. For the year overall through May, citywide attendance is up 24%, with a forecast to be strong through the end of the year.
Is it the beginning of an economic recession or slowdown, with the national economy impacting travel and tourism to Orlando? Is it an impact from the political environment with Democrats targeting Governor Ron DeSantis and progressive groups boycotting travel to Florida? Either way, it’s not good for Orlando or Central Florida.
On the TDT reserve side, Renewal & Replacement Reserves increased by $14.4 million in May. Comptroller Diamond said the June TDT collections will be reported in early August.
Tourist Development Tax is levied by the Board of County Commissioners and is administered by the Orange County Comptroller’s Office. Expenditures for the first four cents are limited by Florida Statutes to the acquisition and operation of convention centers, sports stadiums and arenas, auditoriums and museums, promotion and/or advertisement of tourism and funding of tourist and convention bureaus and tourist information centers. Expenditures for the fifth cent are limited by Florida Statutes to pay the debt service on bonds issued to finance the construction, reconstruction, or renovation of a professional sports franchise facility or subsequently a convention center or promote and advertise tourism. Expenditures for the sixth cent are limited by Florida Statutes to pay the debt service on bonds issued to finance the construction, reconstruction, or renovation of a new professional sports franchise facility or a retained spring training franchise that was not based in Florida prior to April 1, 1987.