TUPELO – Sales tax revenue hit a record last fiscal year for the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For the 2013 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the city’s tourism arm collected nearly $3.86 million, an increase of 4.2 percent from FY2012.
That’s 27 consecutive years of increases, a significant feat, considering the overall economy endured three recessions during that span.
“We have weathered every storm because of good leadership from the board and from very smart members,” said Tupelo CVB Executive Director Neal McCoy.
The money is generated from a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants in Tupelo
Even during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, CVB coffers continued to fill, albeit at a slower growth rate. The effects of the recession lingered, with FY2009 revenue coming in at $3.15 million, a 1.2 percent increase. For the following year, revenue rose 2.8 percent to $3.24 million.
For fiscal years 2011 and 2012, revenue rose 5.8 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.
Still, despite those positive figures, McCoy warned that challenges lie ahead.
Sales tax receipts in October – the first month of the new fiscal year – were $295,188, a 2 percent drop from a year earlier.
Also, hotel occupancy rates for the first few weeks of October were lower than anticipated, which could be a troubling trend as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach.