TAMPA, Fla. — As Florida’s visitor numbers leveled off, Hillsborough County drew more than 26.7 million visitors in fiscal year 2023, which ended in September, setting a new record for taxable hotel revenue at nearly $1.1 billion, according to Visit Tampa Bay.

What You Need To Know

  • Hillsborough County drew more than 26.7 million visitors in fiscal year 2023

  • Visit Tampa Bay said Hillsborough reached a new record, collecting nearly $1.1B in taxable hotel revenue 

  • The CURRENT Hotel located in Tampa’s Rocky Point also experienced a record breaking year

  • CURRENT said Beyonce and Taylor Swift concerts boosted summer room rates

“Our record-setting revenue and soaring occupancy are the result of a multitude of factors,” said Santiago Corrada, Visit Tampa Bay Pres. and CEO. “Including our innate ability to attract a wide variety of meetings and visitors to the area.”

The CURRENT Hotel located in Tampa’s Rocky Point also experienced a record breaking year, according to Daria Leffel, 35, Dir. of Sales and Marketing. Leffel said the Marriott Autograph Collection hotel with 178 rooms saw its highest summer room rate ever due to the Beyonce and Taylor Swift concerts.

“The world tours that Tampa hosted this year did impact our rates during summer significantly,” she said, adding that, “2023 has been a record year for The CURRENT Hotel as well. It crossed all segments in both rates and occupancy.”

The CURRENT opened in 2019 and was sold on Christmas Day in 2022 to the Caspers Company for $85 million. It’s one of the few hotels in Tampa which has a private beach and will open a new rooftop Mexican food restaurant, Casa Cami, early next year.

Leffel said many of the guests at the waterside boutique hotel were visiting for meetings, conferences and conventions.

“The record year really was driven by the amount of groups that we had and hosted here,” she said. “Whether they’re international or domestic.”

Hillsborough County’s best year ever has gotten attention on the other side of Tampa Bay at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. Last month, at the Tourist Development Council meeting, board member Michael Williams, managing dir. at Innisbrook Golf Resort asked, “What’s your thoughts on why Hillsborough is outperforming Pinellas with average rate and RevPAR (revenue per available room)?”    

VSPC Digital Producer Eddie Kirsch said research shows there has been enthusiasm for travel to urban centers and Hillsborough has a much lower room rate than Pinellas.

“We’re thinking that if people are trying to save a little money maybe they’re looking to stay a little bit further away from the beach,” he said. “Because Hillsborough really has that low room rate they were still able to grow that amount when the rest of the state wasn’t.”                                                

Kirsch also said Tampa has a lot more leading conference space and VTB has done a “great job” at really capitalizing on the buzz around major events. Williams suggested VSPC should look at what VTB has been doing from a sales and marketing standpoint.

On Wednesday, VSPC announced the organization also set a record for Pinellas County with more than $98 million in hotel bed tax collections for fiscal year 2023.

Corrada said Visit Tampa Bay achieved a “major milestone,” which collected more than $73 million in tourist development tax.

"It’s a remarkable display of collective effort,” he said. “Tampa Bay has proven it can set standards that others strive to follow.”