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Tourist Tax Income in St. Lucie County Reaches Record Highs

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In St. Lucie County the tourism bed tax hauled in $659,460 in January, 65% higher than January of last year

Record tourist arrival numbers are being recorded across the Treasure coast, as well as throughout Florida. The flood of visitors began last summer and has accelerated now that COVID is waning, said St. Lucie County Tourism & Marketing Director Charlotte Bireley.

The tourist tax is the best measure of tourist arrival numbers. It’s a 5% bed tax on overnight accommodations rented for 6 months or less and it’s been on a tear since June of last year. A new monthly bed tax collection record for St. Lucie County has been set in each of the last 8 months. The levy hauled in $659,460 dollars in January, the most recent reported month. That amount is 65% higher than January of last year.

“This was the most we’ve ever collected in the month of January, in history," said Bireley. "It’s an all-time record. So it’s been really, really, encouraging and quit unbelievable.”

Just over 70% of the record tax income goes toward county maintenance and operations along with bond payments for Clover Park. 20% is pumped back into tourism promotion and about 6% is devoted to a capital fund for tourism related projects in the northern part of St. Lucie County.

"People are feeling more comfortable to travel, and Covid numbers are showing declines," said Bireley. "You know we started to really see the increase when the vaccinations he vaccinations started rolling out last year. It’s also the fact that Florida started re-opening earlier than other competing states such as California.”

Bireley also credits the economic growth throughout the Treasure Coast which has attracted more visitors. “People, especially following Covid, want less crowded, less dense experiences with a lot of outdoor and open space. And those are assets that we offer.  You know there is a big buzz about our area as a place to visit and relocate.”