The Leon County Division of Tourism (Visit Tallahassee) announced that tourism had a record-breaking $1 billion economic impact on the Leon county economy in fiscal year 2019. The $1 billion impact is an estimated 14% increase over the financial impact in 2018.
The announcement was made during the annual marketing industry meeting recently held at Bannerman Crossing’s Hangar 38.
“From achieving a coveted spot on Southern Living Magazine’s Top 10 Cities of the South to hosting more than a dozen signature and sporting championship events, in many ways over the past year we achieved results and broke records. “ said Leon County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge. “This year I am proud to say that we beat our personal best in reaching this milestone.”
The press release noted that impacts from tourism efforts in fiscal year 2019 resulted in $7.2 million in tourist development tax collections, 2.4 million visitors and more than 16 thousand jobs added to Leon County.
The $1 billion impact was estimated by the Downs & St. Germain Research consulting firm hired by Visit Tallahassee. Downs & St. Germain Research is a full service market research firm located in Tallahassee that specializes in tourism studies. According to their website, the firms works with VISIT FLORIDA and 8 Domestic Marketing Organizations (DMOs) in Florida.
According to the 28 page report, the economic impact estimate was based on a visitor tracking study. The components of the study included 2,293 interviews conducted by Downs & St. Germain Research with visitors to Leon County, proprietary analytics and hospitality marketplace information, a Downs & St. Germain Research’s tourism database, various government agencies and data sources, and publicly available sales tax collections.
The recent collections of the Leon County tourist development tax (TDT) is consistent with the tourism growth estimated by Downs & St. Germain Research. From 2018 to 2019, TDT collections increased 20.9% from $6.0 million in 2018 to $7.3 million in 2019.
The TDT is a local option tax which is 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.
According to the analysis, this increase translates to year over year increases in a number of related economic indicators included in the table below.