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Tourist Development Taxes Continue to Drop in January, But There Are Signs of Hope

Photo: Hector Vasquez

Tourist development taxes collected from Orange County hotels in January dropped by 70 percent from the same period in 2019. 

Comptroller Phil Diamond says the county collected $7,678,000 dollars in January. 

“That is the first month-over month decline that we’ve had in TDT collections since we hit rock bottom in April. This amount is less than we’ve collected in any pre-pandemic month since September 2004.”

But he says these historic low levels weren’t completely unexpected due to a surge in coronavirus cases and a rescheduling of events. 

“This January, the bowl games were all at below capacity because of COVID. And also this year as compared to last year, we did not have the Pro Bowl in town.”

At the same time, Diamond says the county has used some $128 million dollars in reserves since April. In January alone, the TDT decreased by $25 million dollars.

He says most of the money was used to pay for updates to Camping World Stadium. 

Still, Diamond says there are signs of hope. 

He says Universal’s decision to restart construction on Epic Universe means that local businesses have confidence and optimism that tourists will return.

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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 »