Tourism in Lee County brought in a record $53.3 million in bed taxes for the 2021 fiscal year, posting a 34.6% increase from 2020, the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released by the Lee County Clerk of Court. The figure surpassed the previous record from 2019 which saw $42.6 million in proceeds from the 5% tax applied to hotel stays and rentals of six months or less.
The tourist tax helps fund destination marketing, local sports facilities and maintenance of the county’s 50 miles of beach and shoreline. Local non-profit organizations at more than 40 local attractions also are funded.
The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
“We’re hopeful that as we continue to recover from the pandemic, our tourism tax collections will continue to grow,” Linda Doggett, Lee County Clerk of the Court and Comptroller, said in a news release. She added last month saw $2.4 million in bed taxes collected, a 29% increase from October 2020 and 65% increase from October 2019.