Tourist numbers slowed in first quarter

After steady growth in lodging tax numbers ever since the 2020-21 period of pandemic shutdown, it appears the first quarter of fiscal year 2023-24 in both Franklin and Gulf counties has been flat.

Both counties are still within shooting range of hitting last year’s numbers, which were $4.74 million in Gulf based on its 5-cent tax on short-term rentals and $3.3 million in Franklin based on its 3-cent tax rate.

Because Gulf handles its own collection, they have already posted January 2024’s numbers, which show a 19.1 percent drop for the month, from $141,585 to $114,503, or a decline of a little more than $27,000 for the month.

They are currently running about 7.8 percent behind last year’s numbers, with the busiest months all ahead. 

Because Franklin’s tax is collected by the state, the January numbers won’t show up for another month or so. But as it stands now, the first quarter saw them about 4 percent behind the previous year.

Looking at the first quarter of the collection year, both counties saw a dropoff in October 2023.

Gulf’s receipts declined by $71,542, or by 18.4 percent, as they fell from $387,900 in October 2022 to $316,538 in 2023.

In Franklin County, the drop was a tad less, or 16.1 percent, declining by $45,241 from $280,910 in October 2022 to $235,669 in 2023.

In November, Gulf County saw an uptick of 6.2 percent, with revenues rising by $10,428, from $169,343 to $179,771.

In Franklin County, there was a decline in November, from $146,699 in 2022 to $139,188 last year, a dropoff of $7,211, or about 4.9 percent.

But in December, Franklin County rebounded as it saw a $30,663 boost in revenues, from $128,229 to $158,894, an upturn of about 23.9 percent.

Gulf County saw growth in December as well, as revenues for that month rose by $25,581, or about 25.1 percent, from $101,963 in 2022 to $127,544 in 2023.

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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