Hillsborough Q4 revenue dropped nearly 50% from 2019; county officials to receive tourism update

It goes without saying, 2020 has been a tough year for tourism. Florida is staring at a dismal budget picture, and on Wednesday Hillsborough County officials will see how the Tampa Bay area is doing. 

Later Wednesday morning, Visit Tampa Bay CEO Santiago Corrado will make his quarterly presentation to county commissioners, laying out a sobering reality for Bay-Area tourism. According to documents, the numbers are unsurprisingly bad. 

When you look at Hillsborough County's total taxable revenue for quarter four of 2020, it sits at just over $76 million. That's about half the revenue brought in during quarter four of 2019, a dramatic drop-off by comparison. 

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In 2020, to date, Hillsborough County's hotel revenue was down nearly 40% from the same point in 2019 at $356 million. The decline was only slightly less severe than what the numbers reported at the state level. 

To put Tampa Bay's tourism troubles in perspective another way, look no further than the drop in Hillsborough County revenue from January to October 2020. This data is reported every ten days. On the chart, you'll see that through early March, county revenues exceeded between $2.5 and $3 million per reporting period. 

Then, you can observe what happened as the pandemic hit. Revenues took a nosedive, with the county struggling to reach even $1 million per reporting period through October. 

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When you look at hotel performance in downtown Tampa, you'll see occupancy dipping below 33% in Q4, a nearly 54% decline from the previous quarter. Average daily rates also dived more than 28%, and revenues were down a whopping 66%. 

These numbers, taken as COVID-19 infections continue to rise across Tampa Bay and across Florida, indicate the region will have a long road to recovering its tourism industry. 

The focus, according to Visit Tampa Bay, will have to be on bringing big meetings and conventions back to the area- something that can't happen until the spread of the virus is under control. The meeting gets underway at 11:15 a.m.