Tourism numbers far outpacing last year

No one will be surprised to learn that lodging tax revenues
are up in Gulf County.

But triple digits are triple digits, and when it comes to
the month of April, it’s practically been quadruple digits.

Adrianne Glass, marketing director for the Tourist
Development Council, said April revenues from the 5 percent tax on short-term
rentals came in at a whopping 996 percent above April 2000, a month when all
vacation rentals were forced to shut down the coronavirus pandemic.

Year to date, revenue from the lodging tax has been running nearly
135 percent ahead of this point in 2019-20.

During the last fiscal year, Oct. 2019 through Sept. 2020,
the tax brought in about $2.3 million, a healthy rebound from $1.7 million
brought in during 2018-19, a year plagued by the hurricane.

Last year’s total was about $200,000 more than the year
prior, when it ran $2.1 million in 2017-18.

“Collections are up 194 percent from 2019 and 137 percent up
from 2018, which is pre-Hurricane Michael,” Glass said.

She said the TDC has been putting out Leave No Trace
messaging through social media, radio and other outlets. “We have just put new
signage at prominent beach access points to remind people to
Leave No Trace on our beaches,” Glass said.

The TDC is also holding a Keep It Wild are contest for children
ages 5 to 14, that lasts until June 15.

“Show us how you keep it wild while sharing the
beach with our local wildlife!” read the rules.

Children are asked to send in an original drawing by June 15
to The TDC will then select
six artists’ creations to be displayed at the Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle

“Then, you can vote for your favorite via our Facebook page,”
Glass aid.

Winners will be announced on August 2. All artists must have
a signed release form from parents/guardians to be included in the

The TDC’s fall campaign will kick off in mid-July to help
visitation later on throughout the year, with the officials launch date
July 18.

“We are very excited about this campaign and the message
that it will portray to visitors,” she said. “At the same time, we will have a
local Tourism Advocacy Campaign to show the importance of tourism in
Gulf County. We will be hosting events, among other things, for our locals to

“We also will be celebrating our Tourism Industry during
this time. They have worked tirelessly throughout the last year and deserve
that recognition,” Glass said.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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