Tourism Tanks: Two Percent Bed Tax On Table

In this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 photo provided by Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Red Tide Ranger Dr. Richard Kline, with the University of Texas at Brownsville Department of Biology, examines a 6-foot tarpon that washed ashore during a red tide bloom on South Padre Island, Texas. Historic drought conditions are fueling the largest algae bloom in more than a decade along the Texas Gulf Coast, killing fish, sparking warnings about beach conditions and making throats scratchy, researchers said Monday. Officials were not sure if red tide caused the death. (AP Photo/Texas AgriLife Extension Service via The Brownsville Herald, Tony Reisinger)
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By: Elizabeth Nickerson
September 10, 2013

Franklin County, FL - The waters are choppy in Franklin County. The Tourist Development Council looks to add a 2 percent bed tax in order to leverage the amount of money lost in tourism for the past several years.

"If on 100 dollars you're paying 2 dollars extra while you are on vacation per day, you know, is that a serious problem for your vacation, I don't think so," said Skip Frink, the Owner, The Old Carrabelle Hotel.

The Owner of The Old Carrabelle hotel in Franklin County says the Gulf Coast took a major hit after the oil spill in 2010, and this tax is much needed.

"Years 2010 and 2011 were bad business years, the closest reported tar balls were hundreds of miles away from here, but it was the thought and the news information out there that said 'oil spill in the Gulf Coast' many people canceled plans, changed reservations," said Frink.

The Tourist Development Council saw a drop off in numbers in April, but with the 2 percent tax added they will see $800,000 extra. More than 50 percent of the tax increase would fund out of area promotions to bring visitors to Franklin County.

"We the local people won't be paying anymore taxes, you know our visitors will," said Frink.

The TDC says visitors spend $40 million dollars on hotel stay annually and half that much on food. Tourism brings $70 million dollars to the economy.

Franklin County Commissioners voted against the bed tax increase, 4 to 1. According to Curt Blair from the Tourism Development Council, the board still has a chance to approve a referendum at the next county commission meeting on September seventeenth.

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