Alachua County sets tourism tax record in 2022  

The Hilton UF Conference Center Hotel in Gainesville.
The Hilton UF Conference Center Hotel in Gainesville.

Overnight tourists in Alachua County directly spent more than $495 million in 2022, leading to a $2.5 million increase in revenue to the county’s tourism development tax. 

Jessica Hurov, tourism development manager, presented the numbers to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners at Tuesday’s regular meeting. She said the 2022 income from the tourism tax brings the county above pre-pandemic levels and even sets the record for the highest year. 

The tourism development tax, or bed tax, applies a 5% increase to lodging stays that last up to six months, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnb. 

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Courtesy Alachua County Jessica Hurov

She also said that day trips from neighboring counties also contribute significantly but aren’t captured in those numbers.  

Alachua County officials noted last year that numbers in the first four months of 2022 indicated a record-setting year. That projection came true with a total of $7.7 million collected.

The independent firm that compiled the report found that most visitors came from other parts of Florida, with Orlando, Melbourne, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami taking top spots. Hurov said the county has also been advertising in those areas.  

As far as attractions, UF, Butler Plaza, Ben Hill Griffith Stadium and Depot Park/South Main drew in the most tourists.  

Hurov said 1.4 million visitors came last year. While the large number helped increase the bed tax numbers, Hurov said higher room rates also contributed. She added that inflation has impacted overall numbers as well with an estimate of 6%. 

Alachua County uses the tax revenue to fund tourism growth—from advertising to new facilities and grants. The county also spent tourism dollars to build its new sports and event center at Celebration Pointe.  

Hurov also gave numbers for the Walldogs Dive into High Springs event that happened in March. She said one third of the visitors came from out of state with an estimate of 5,161 visitors based on cell phone data, staying in accommodations in High Springs or neighboring Alachua.  

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