Time was on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key when August was considered the end of the summer season, and many vacation rental owners and managers made plans to take a vacation of their own, or have work done on the rental property.
But times certainly have changed.
The resort tax collection department of the Manatee County Tax Collector reported $555,930 in resort taxes were collected in September for August stay-over visitors, a 15.4 percent increase from the $481,686 collected for August last year.
And a positive sign that island vacation rentals and resorts had a busy August, said Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman.
Resort taxes are paid one month in arrears.
The tax, often called the bed tax but officially the Manatee County Tourism Development Tax, is the 5 percent collected on rentals in the county of six months or less.
With the $555,930 collected for August, the resort tax fund stands at $8.544 million, a new record for collections with one month left in fiscal year 2012-13 for collections.
The $8.544 million is a new resort tax collection record, well ahead of the $8.1 million collected in 2011-12.
The 15.4 percent increase in collections is a likely barometer that stay-over visitors increased on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key for August 2013 compared with August 2012.
For 29 of the past 30 months, the monthly increase in stay-over visitors to the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Center area has been about half the increase in resort tax collections.
In its June report to the Manatee County Tourism Development Council, Research Data Services Inc., the company that prepares tourism information for the TDC, reported tourism to the BACVB area was up 6.5 percent for year.
With an anticipated increase in tourist tax receipts of approximately 10 percent by the end of fiscal year 2012-13 on Sept. 30, the increase in stay-over visitors can be anticipated to be around 5-6 percent.
“It has definitely been a great season and I’m not surprised the tourism tax set a record,” said Brockman.
“We didn’t have any members complaining they weren’t busy this summer. Many of them said they set records for occupancy. From what I hear, this winter season also is going to be great,” she said.
The resort tax is used to fund Anna Maria Island’s share of beach renourishment projects, the BACVB annual budget, the Bradenton Convention Center, the Powell Crosley Mansion and other county-related tourism projects.