Tourism to Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and the entire Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau market area is up 12.3 percent for the first two months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
Walter Klages of Research Data Services Inc., which prepares monthly and quarterly tourism reports for the BACVB, presented his results at the April 16 meeting of the Manatee County Tourism Development Council.
RDS reported 55,400 visitors to the area in January 2012, up 18.5 percent from the 46,700 visitors for January 2011.
February tourism also was up, with 53,500 visitors to the area in February 2012, a gain of 6.4 percent compared with the 50,300 reported for the same month in 2011.
Tourism to the BACVB area for the first two months of 2012 is up 12.3 percent when compared with the first two months of 2011.
The increase was predicted by Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman on learning resort tax collections for the first two months of 2012 were up 24.7 percent.
For the past year, Brockman said, she’s noticed that the percentage increase in monthly tourism figures have been about half that of resort tax collections.
“I’m confident March was one of the best months ever for tourism,” she said, and likewise for resort tax collections.
Although the newest RDS tourism report comes nearly three months after reporting month, resort tax collection figures are usually available from the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office about a week after the end of the month. Resort taxes are paid 30 days in arrears.
The resort tax, also called the bed tax and officially known as the Manatee County Tourism Development Tax, is the 5 percent collected on rentals in the county of six months or less.