Official: tourism improving in Clay County and in North Florida
BY DAN HILDEBRAN
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, May 20 – The head of Clay County’s tourism office said the hospitality industry in the county and throughout the region is improving.
Jackie Slaybaugh told the Clay County Tourist Development Council, during its quarterly meeting in May, that in the first six months of this fiscal year, collections of the county’s tourism tax is 10 percent above the previous year.
“And last year, was our best year ever,” she added.
The tourism tax, also known as the bed tax, is a three-percent levy on the revenues from hotel and motel rooms.
The county uses the funds to promote Clay County tourism and to provide grants to events like the Scottish Highland Games and the Clay County Agricultural Fair.
Business leaders and government officials often use the tax as a gauge to measure the health of a community’s tourist industry.
Slaybaugh said the entire northeast Florida region is seeing an uptick in tourism tax collections. When asked if an improved economy, increased travel by the public or more events in northeast Florida accounted for the increase in tourism, Slaybaugh responded, “All of the above.”
“Northeast Florida has just been getting a lot of national attention,” she said. “Golf has seen an uptick. There’s been a lot of increase in events in Jacksonville itself, so we’re probably seeing a little bit of an overflow from that also.”
For more on this story, pick up a copy of the June 4 issue of the Lake Region Monitor.