On May 5th the Leon County Tourist Development Council (TDC) reviewed the details of a report provided by Downs and St. Germaine Research that showed a 1.1% increase in visitors from January through March of 2016 when compared to the same time period one year ago.
The research group completed 926 surveys through the internet and in-person interviews. Among the objectives of the survey was to estimate the direct spending and total economic impact of visitors.
A “Tourism Snapshot”, included below, shows visitors increased from 684,684 to 692,211 during the period of the study. The analysis shows direct expenditures from visitors increased by approximately $10.5 million and the total economic impact increased by approximately $15 million.
While the survey findings are estimates based on several assumptions, the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) is a more accurate representation of economic activity in this industry sector.
The TDT is a local option tax passed by Leon County residents in 1988. Currently set at five percent (5%), the tax is based on the total payment received for the rental or lease of living quarters and accommodations rented for six (6) months or less.
The TDT is the primary funding source for comprehensive destination marketing programs within Leon County.
The “Tourism Snapshot” shows that the TDT increased by 21.0% during this period, which means $21.3 million was spent on lodging. This is $4.4 million more than one year ago.
The survey found that the two main reasons people visit Leon County was to see friends and family (31%) and to attend business meetings (19%).
Perhaps it was because the legislature came early this year moving April-May visitors into Feb-March?