Orange County District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson is seeking public input on the allocation of $336 million in hotel taxes, which have traditionally funded renovations and upgrades to tourist attractions in Orange County. The Tourist Development Task Force will be recommending spending the money on projects for Orange County Convention Center, Camping World Stadium (Florida Citrus Sports), Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center, and UCF Sports.
The Orange County Tourist Development Task Force, composed of representatives from various interest groups seeking funding, also raised questions about the evaluation process and the most effective use of these funds. In an interview with Click Orlando, shown below, Commissioner Wilson shows support for exploring other options for these fund such as affordable housing or transportation.
In an interview with WFTV, Dr. Kelly Semrad, an associate professor of tourism and hospitality management at UCF, pointed out that other Florida counties have successfully diverted similar funds to address community needs such as beach restoration in south Florida and for lifeguard services and police presence in Fort Walton Beach.
The call for public input aims to ensure that the community’s voice is heard before final decisions are made regarding the allocation of hotel taxes. Residents are encouraged to email their thoughts to [email protected] or participate in the upcoming BCC meeting on July 25.
As Orange County explores how to use these funds, the public’s engagement and opinions on this matter will help in shaping the future of tourism funding in the region.
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