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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Marion County Tourist Development Tax collections increase by over 100% over same time last year

Marion Country showed a huge spike in revenue generated from the Tourist Development Tax  last month compared to the same time last year.

According to a collections report presented to the Tourist Development Council during its regular meeting on Thursday, over the past fiscal year (October 2020 – September 2021), Marion county generated nearly $3.7 million in revenue from the Tourist Development Tax.

That is an increase of over $1 million compared to last year’s yearly totals (October 2019 – September 2020), when the tax brought a little over $2.6 million in revenue.

In September, the county collected over $420,000 in revenue from the tax. During the same month last year, the county generated less than $200,000 from the tax.

In 2020, the pandemic had a noticeable impact on the county’s tourist tax collections, with cancellations of popular events including Light Up Ocala and the Ocala Christmas Parade.

As COVID-19 cases throughout the county continue to decline, a slate of recent and upcoming events will look to bring in tens of thousands of visitors.

One such event, the 54th Annual Ocala Arts Festival, was held last weekend and attracted thousands of people to downtown Ocala.

2020 2021 Tourist Development Tax collections increase by over 1 million 1
This year’s Ocala Art’s Festival (Photo courtesy of Fine Arts For Ocala)

Next month, Light Up Ocala will return to Downtown Ocala and in December, the Ocala Christmas Parade, which is themed “A Heroes’ Christmas,” will move forward with festivities.

While plenty of events are proceeding as scheduled, the ongoing pandemic has still caused unforeseen issues for some event planners.

Earlier this month, the City of Belleview announced the cancellation of its Christmas Parade due to a staff and volunteer shortage. City officials also cited safety concerns with ongoing construction on U.S. Highway 441 in Belleview.

The Tourist Development Council will meet tomorrow, October 28 at 10 a.m. for its regularly planned meeting. As part of the agenda, members will discuss the Tourist Development Tax collections and its financial impact on the county.