TAMPA, Fla. — Visit Tampa Bay says its hotel tourism tax was down more than 40% in October, well short of records set last year and October 2019 tourism taxes.

"No one is minimizing 40 percent, 40 percent plus decline," said Santiago Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.  "Compared to the record setting pace we have been on, obviously that is not good news."​

What You Need To Know

  • Tourism officials said pandemic has significantly impacted Pinellas and Hillsborough tourism

  • Visit Tampa Bay optimistic things are improving


Corrada said although the decline in tourism taxes has been significant, every month since April tourism numbers have been slowly ticking back up.

Tampa's biggest hit to tourism came as a result of international travel loss as well as big groups canceling visits to the city, specifically convention traffic.

Visit Tampa Bay says there are signs in the new year that things may be changing.

"We've been able to book some big shows for next year so all things being equal, the vaccine takes hold, the pandemic plunges, we start seeing business come back that we are missing, and we are pretty close to normal pretty quickly," Corrada said.

Visit Tampa Bay is remaining optimistic about the Outback Bowl and Super Bowl in the New Year, however currently, capacity for both games is not known and major sponsors have been timid in planning any events surrounding the big games.

In Pinellas County, the tourism tax showed a 17 percent drop for October.

Corrada said Pinellas County fared better, primarily because it is tied to beach tourism which isn't as impacted when the area loses big events.