Earlier this summer, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings formed a Tourist Development Tax (TDT) Citizen Advisory Task Force to discuss community investments we should be making utilizing future, unallocated TDT revenues that meet current guidelines in Florida Statutes.
Visit Orlando presented to the Task Force sharing how we help bring in travelers, promote and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors and drive bookings to the Orange County Convention Center and meeting hotels. We also shared how TDT is critical to promoting our regional brand, Unbelievably Real, and travel and tourism to our destination. As the destination's marketing organization, Visit Orlando generates $33 in visitor spending for every $1 of TDT funds invested.
Over the past several weeks, the Task Force heard from various organizations interested in the potential uses and voted to recommend five projects: the Orange County Convention Center, Camping World Stadium, Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and UCF's proposed sports village. These recommendations were presented to the Tourist Development Council and will advance to the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, July 25.
These are all great projects that certainly will benefit our entire community, whether it's booking meetings and conventions or hosting concerts and sporting events.
There have also been discussions by the Task Force and recommendations that would require a change in the statute. These include requesting state legislators broaden the ability to impose a 1% Tourist Impact Tax, separate but similar to how TDT is levied, to be used for affordable housing needs and update the criteria analyzed for TDT funding requests to consider a project's contribution to the community, workforce needs and jobs.
Travel industry veteran Roger Dow—past president of the U.S. Travel Association and a Marriott executive for 34 years—is a Florida resident and has been closely watching the conversation around TDT.
He recently shared his observations with the Orlando Sentinel, noting "The rhetoric around expanding the usage beyond its original intent ignores the root of the problem, is shortsighted and dangerous to the future of Orange County's tourism and tax revenue."
He shares examples of the consequences of reduced funding in other destinations and the importance of fueling the economic engine that is tourism in our community. Read the full article here. Please consider sharing the article to your network.