The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo is currently posted up at the Orange County Convention Center this week and its creating a buzz among all of the hype men for tourism in Orlando (story HERE).
Only the IAAPA expo won’t help Orlando residents the way it should. It never does.
This isn’t because of anyone directly involved with the organization or people attending the event. We’re a beautiful community. Have fun.
It’s because of the Orlando tourism industry.
Much of the revenues collected from the expo are gained through what we call the Tourism Development Tax. A tax taken from the hotel night stays in Orange County. It’s very lucrative.
Well you might ask “Hey, isn’t this good news?!”
It should be. But its not.
Because TDT funds are roped off by outdated regulations that say it must be fed back into tourism.
We can’t use it for housing.
We can’t use it for our kids.
We can’t use it to keep us safe.
Instead, it goes back into an industry that is already responsible for some of the nation’s lowest wages, in an economy with some of the fastest rising rents. Its personally hurting me right now.
It goes towards a tourism agency that uses the money collected in Orange County to promote attractions that aren’t even in Orange County (story HERE).
If that sounds wrong, it’s because it is wrong.
And the hotel and theme park industry will do everything they can to protect what they believe is there money.
But it’s not there money. We work in those hotels. We turnover those rooms. We prepare that food. We clean those restrooms.
And we see nothing.
So, thanks IAAPA. I guess. But know you’re not really helping Orlando. You’re a reminder that our tourism industry is broken.
But if you’d like to help us. Tell every local leader you meet that this policy is hurting us.
And then you’ll have this entire community’s full and sincere thanks.
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