Stellar numbers in tourist tax collections were not expected in September. And they did not materialize.
The red tide crisis was in full swing. Plus, school resumed and people wrapped up summer vacations.
This all created a perfect storm for sending tourist tax collections into a dive in Manatee County and on Anna Maria Island.
Still, it was not enough to dampen an overall 10 percent gain in tourist tax revenues for the year, according to Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Elliott Falcione.
“Shopping, sports, a great urban core, art and culture — all these sustain visits to our area,” Falcione told The Islander Nov. 30. “This diversity makes us more apt to sustain during adverse conditions.”
Tourist development tax collections in Manatee County were $622,059 in September compared to $761,176 for the month in 2017. This translated to a net loss of $139,117.
It was back in September 2015 when numbers were lower, at $618,674. Since then, the tourist tax numbers mostly have shown good gains, topping out at $761,178 in September 2017.
Anna Maria Island municipalities — Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach — collected $6,294,140.64 in tourist tax receipts for the September 2017-August 2018, down $86, 934.27 from the September 2016-August 2017 total of $6,381,074.91.
The 2017-18 totals were above numbers from 2015-16, when revenue was $6,134,615.73, and in 2014-15, when $5,305,730.32 was collected.
While the combined island municipalities continue to collect the largest percentage of tourist tax revenues in Manatee County, tax collection percentages of the total county take varied little by island municipality year over year.
In percentages of total Manatee County collections, Anna Maria accounted for a four-year average of 14.95 percent. Bradenton Beach recorded a four-year average of 8.50 percent. Holmes Beach averaged the most collections, with a four-year total average of 23.89 percent.
In Anna Maria, tourist tax collections rose from $1,500,393.62 in 2014-15 to $2,155,844.18 in the year ending in August.
Bradenton Beach experienced a steady climb in tourist tax revenues. Slightly more than $1 million was collected in 2014-15. Then the numbers ticked up: $1,057,467.55 in 2015-16, $1,101,374.57 in 2016-17 and $1,170,815.68 in 2017-18.
Holmes Beach reported the strongest numbers, with $2,967,480.78 total tourist tax revenues in 2017-18. That number, however, was down from the four-year high of $3,238,100.33 in 2016-17. And it was the first time since 2014-15 that Holmes Beach revenues fell under $3 million.
New numbers for the county, and Anna Maria Island cities, will be discussed at the next Manatee County Tourist Development Council meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10. The meeting will be at the Center of Anna Maria Island, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.
About the TDC
The TDC makes recommendations to the Manatee County Board of Commissioners for projects and uses for the tourist development tax revenues. The council consists of nine volunteer members appointed to four-year terms.
For more information, go to mymanatee.org.