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Orange County’s Tourist Development Taxes Are Still at a Historic Low, Months Into the Pandemic

Photo: Brian McGowan

The area brought in 5,787,000 dollars in TDT revenues in August.

August’s tourist development tax revenues represented a 71 percent drop from the previous year’s. 

Comptroller Phil Diamond says those numbers are an increase from collections in April which were less than one million dollars. 

“And this month the collections are still increasing but they’re starting to plateau a little bit as well. And you can see the collections are still only about a quarter of what they were last year and earlier this year at our high points.”

Diamond says occupancy rates rose to 50 percent over the Labor Day weekend but room inventory and average room rates fell due to hotel and motel closures. 

He says reserves are being used to fund ongoing projects, but he adds it’s crucial to keep reducing drawdowns, as it’s unclear when the tourism industry will rebound. 

“Reserves decreased by 14.9 million dollars in August. All that said Mayor Demings’ decision to suspend or cancel all contracts connected to the Convention Center expansion projects and defer other payments has already helped decrease the drawdown of reserves.”

Diamond says a low coronavirus positivity rate and no reported outbreaks at the theme parks could bode well for the industry, but he says the phase three reopening could reverse this progress. 

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »