The Tourism Development Tax (or TDT), for the uninitiated, is revenue collected from hotel night stays that Orlando tourism has successfully lobbied to keep for themselves.
Despite the fact that those hotels don’t run without us. We clean those rooms. We cook those meals. We drive those shuttles.
The goal of Orlando tourism is simple. Keep TDT and all of the money spent by visitors to Orlando, inside of the tourism funnel, which begins at the airport and spreads out to International Drive and the theme parks. It completely bypasses community owned business and we don’t see any money from that.
If they wanted to do the right thing, our elected officials would allow us to spend that money on public safety, schools, and transportation. We’ll see. Orlando tourism can afford lobbyists and campaign checks. We can’t.
Right now Orange County has a task force dedicated to making recommendations. Some of the big projects are ridiculous and do nothing for you.
First was almost a Billion dollars for a baseball stadium. You won’t see a dime from that stadium. The money would stay in the funnel.
This week, two more foolish recommendations were made.
More money was requested for our already surging convention center. The presenter, who makes more money than you and I combined, mourned that we weren’t as big as the Las Vegas center.
Guess what? Las Vegas has diversified TDT. Frankly, that point was an insult to our awareness and intelligence.
The second recommendation was a roof for Camping World Stadium. Which already hosts big concerts and multiple college bowl games.
We have two already prospering venues asking for more of your money that ends up in the funnel anyways. They should just play baseball inside of Camping World Stadium and be done with it. But its about the money, not the final product.
If we can’t diversify TDT, the next best move would be to fund the dozens of other smaller projects that could help our community prosper through programs that provide ladders for our young people. Let’s use that money to make us smarter, stronger, with a brighter outlook for our future.
A roof on a stadium ran by a greedy organization, or another snack bar at a convention center for a Bruno Mars concert that we should be holding at the Amway center anyways, won’t do that.