Revenue from the Tourist Development Tax hit a record-high of nearly $525,000 in Marion County during the month of February.
The Tourist Development Council recently announced that February’s revenue exceeded the previous monthly record by more than $100,000. This revenue reflects tax collection from stays in short-term accommodations in Marion County for less than six months in February 2022.
This is the highest revenue to date, for a single month, since the Tourist Development Tax referendum was approved by voters in January 2005. According to the Marion County Tax Collector’s Office, revenue increased by over 46% compared to February 2021. When compared to February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, revenue increased by more than 73%.
There were multiple events in February that likely brought an increased number of visitors to Marion County. Those events included HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, Grandview Invitational, World Equestrian Center’s Winter Spectacular, and the Ocala Shrine Rodeo.
Marion County Board of County Commissioners chairman Carl Zalak III said, “Marion County continues to be not only a great place to live but a wonderful place to visit as well. With the World Equestrian Center, our local parks and springs, dozens of restaurants, and much more around the county, this tourism boost makes a huge impact on funding for our government services and jobs, and saves Marion County residents hundreds of dollars in taxes.”
“We are excited that travel is not just back for our area, but stronger than ever,” said Loretta Shaffer, Tourist Development Director for the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Shaffer added, “Marion County’s future looks bright, and we look forward to showcasing our beautiful destination to travelers worldwide.”
The Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau is currently conducting a yearlong economic impact of tourism study, which will be completed next year. According to the latest economic impact research conducted in July 2020 to June 2021, visitors generate more than $1 billion in economic impact to Marion County in one year.
The research showed that visitors spend more than $690,000 directly on accommodations, restaurants, groceries, transportation, attractions, entertainment, and shopping. In addition, visitors generate a net benefit of nearly $9 million to Marion County government services and infrastructure, which saves residents over $500 in taxes per household each year.
For more information on the most recent economic impact of tourism study, along with past studies, visit the Ocala/Marion County research and data webpage.