Orlando’s tourism industry is strong, generating record hotel tax revenue
Universal Orlando’s Dockside Inn & Suites is now taking reservations for its ‘Endless Summer’ resort experience.

UO-Dockside-Inn-and-Suites-Exterior-Rendering (1)
The Orange County 6% surcharge on overnight stays generated $32.6 million in February, according to Comptroller Phil Diamond.

Orlando’s tourism industry — still going strong in the pandemic recovery — brought in the highest hotel tax revenue ever collected in the month of February, officials said.

The Orange County 6% surcharge on overnight stays generated $32.6 million in February, according to Comptroller Phil Diamond.

“Month-over-month, February collections were higher than January collections by $3.6 million,” Diamond said in a statement.

Hotel tax proceeds were also up 14% compared to February 2022.

Visit Orlando reported hotel occupancy hitting 82% for the Metro Orlando area in February. The average daily hotel rate for the month was about $216, up 16% year-over-year.

“While demand was strong both for leisure and convention hotel properties, the convention segment continued to deliver a higher year-over-year increase (21%), and the Orange County Convention Center reported a 30% increase in attendance from February 2022 across 35 events,” said Visit Orlando CEO Casandra Matej in a statement.

Matej said she expects tourism for March to be on pace with last year. Spring break vacationers, MegaCon and the Global Pet Expo 2023 at the convention center, as well as downtown Orlando hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, helped bring in overnight guests into Central Florida, she said.

Orlando’s tourism industry stopped abruptly when the theme parks shut down for several months in 2020 during the pandemic. Hotel tax revenue plummeted. But today, tourism is thriving again. 

Diamond said he was pushing for county officials to rebuild $300 million in hotel tax reserves to build up from the pandemic losses.

The milestone was surpassed Feb. 28, Diamond said.

The Orlando Sentinel has reported a new county task force is exploring other ways the 6% tax can be spent beyond promoting tourism through Visit Orlando, the Orange County Convention Center and the other current uses. Some critics are pushing for the hotel tax to go toward public transportation, affordable housing or on other issues that arise from millions of tourists visiting every year and creating an economy filled with low-wage tourism jobs.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the task force members he appointed will “establish priorities” for future tourist tax spending, the Sentinel reported last month.

Demings also said the task force must work within the framework of state law, which limits how the money can be spent, the Sentinel story said.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    April 4, 2023 at 10:23 am

    gO wOkE gO BRokE!

  • St. Augustine Berlusconi Greaseball Bill

    April 4, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Get woke or go broke you far right nut jobs, terrorist supporters, liars, and Christian fascists. Acid in the face over six week abortion ban.

  • Linwood Wright

    April 4, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    But I was told that Disney & Universal were all going out of business though because they’re “too woke” and nobody was going there anymore.

    DId the Right Wing media lie to me?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn