Hotel proceeds/sales taxes on the rise in Jacksonville

by By Andrew Lugo Jacksonville Communications Director

Data on City of Jacksonville’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) metrics, may calm any concerns about the local economic outlook. It was just over one-year ago, when Mud Creek ATV Park closed its doors and its Mud Nationals annual March event relocated. That November, the La Quinta hotel also closed after a major structural fire.

City leaders however, were confident in the local economy and HOT proceeds; a small fee paid by Jacksonville hotel guests from which proceeds may be used only to promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. Financials proved that Jacksonville’s other amenities, from the several wedding venues to Lake Jacksonville, and events, were of more-significance in leading to ‘overnight stays’ at Jacksonville hotels, and producing HOT proceeds. “Jacksonville (has been) doing great.” Said then-Mayor Dick Stone. “We will continue to do well.”

The data shows FY 2019’s HOT proceeds of $210,679 exceed projections and FY 2018 amounts. March continues to be among the most popular months to visit, and starts the tourism season lasting through August.

“The current metrics are a very positive sign for the Jacksonville economy.” Says City Manager Greg Smith, “When our hotel occupancy is up, it is a boost to sales taxes because these are visitors from outside of our community who tend to spend their money here.”

Just as projected, Mud Creek park and its events had a negligible effect on the Jacksonville economy. Projections for all funds are calculated by data analysis of current and future expected revenue and expenses and, considers geographic and economic trends.

The economic importance of Jacksonville’s attractions is the driving reason behind Explore Jacksonville, the City’s tourism re-branding effort launched by Smith to attract and retain visitors. The brand has a new logo, website, apparel, and marketing material which the City encourages the community to share. More information may be found on the Explore Jacksonville website, or by picking-up an Explore Jacksonville brochure at Love’s Lookout, the Jacksonville Chamber, or Downtown businesses.