Bed Tax numbers, which are a good barometer in the tourism business as to how well an area may be doing, are low compared to our competitors.
It’s now three percent at Panama City Beach. Other areas have four, five, six or even seven percent in some areas.
Now, the local Tourist Development Council/Convention and Visitors Bureau is beginning preliminary talks to raise the tax 25 percent from the current three percent level; up to four percent.
To some people a jump from three to four percent may not sound like a lot. For example, a $100 a night condo would see the bed tax rise from $3.00 to $4.00. Overall, it could ad up to millions of dollars for the local economy.
If it comes about, the extra tax money would be used for extending public parking lots, adding sports complexes and promotional and operational advances.
But some motel and resort operators think adding the tax could become a competitive disadvantage. One of those is Cody Kahn, Vice President of Operations for the Hilton Corporation.
“We do not need to overburden our industry and all of our guests with an unnecessary tax. It certainly isn’t necessary at this time. It’s not justifiable.”
The TDC will talk about the issue again at its meeting next month. Before the tax could go into effect it would have to be approved by the TDC/CVB board and it would then go to the Bay County Commission where it will have to be approved before the tax increase could go into effect.