It seems Siesta Beach’s No. 1 beach ranking is paying off.
“It was the best July we ever had,” Virginia Haley, president of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau, reported to the County Commission.
The ranking for Siesta Public Beach has produced higher tourist tax collections for the county than the SCVB saw in fiscal year 2007-08, one of the county’s best, Haley said.
“We even clobbered that year,” she said. “We have just tirelessly promoted this No. 1 beach, and it’s really paying off.”
In August, a national organization that surveys accommodations found Sarasota County had the best percentage increase in occupancy of hotel rooms, the best average daily room rate and the highest revenue per available room, beating all the areas with which it is compared, including St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Naples and Fort Myers.
“Those are really, really good figures,” Haley said.
The accommodation rates generally focus on well-known franchises, she added; condo rentals are excluded.
Sarasota County Chairwoman Nora Patterson said she was pleased to see that county accommodations had been able to raise their rates.
“They’ve been struggling,” she said, because of the economic downturn.
“It’s astounding how well we’re doing,” said Kevin Cooper, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce.
Click here to view tourist development tax collections by location.