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Pinellas County may see record revenue from 2023 spring breakers

Spring break crowds Clearwater Beach WFTS.png
Posted at 10:57 AM, Mar 01, 2023

CLEARWATER, Fla. — With the calendar turning over to March, hotels, restaurants, and businesses across the Tampa Bay area are finishing their preps for what could be another record-breaking Spring Break.

Spring Break 2023 could be even busier for area businesses as hotels and other businesses on Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island are still trying to rebuild after sustaining heavy damage from Hurricane Ian.

If spring breakers do come north to the area, areas like Pinellas County could be in for a windfall of revenue, following up a spectacular March last year.

Pinellas County's bed taxes slowly gained momentum since 2013 before running into the pandemic. But even in 2021, numbers returned to pre-pandemic levels of roughly $9.7 million that March.

Then in 2022, bed taxes in Pinellas County exploded to $13 million, and the double-digit bed taxes continued right through April, which saw bed tax revenue of $10.8 million.

Overall, since 2013, bed taxes in Pinellas County have grown 160%.

Hotel leaders tell ABC Action News they are ramping up for a busy Spring Break season, with bookings pouring in from across the nation and the world.

Many of those spring breakers will come to the area through Tampa International Airport. The airport said last year they expected numbers to reach 88,000 passengers a day on peak days and other days exceeding 80,000 passengers.

Ashley Remer and her two children caught a flight back home to Michigan. They vacationed in Redington Beach.

"This is our 7th time coming to Florida. This time, we did Redington Beach. Typically, Fort Myers, but we just love the coast, love all the restaurants, everything about it," said Remer.

But travelers going through TPA will need some patience as there is construction going on around the airport, which can complicate the schedules for travelers. The airport's master plan includes three phases with Phase 1 completed. Phase 2 is underway which includes a curbside expansion and SkyCenter Development. Phase 3 is expected to begin in 2024 with the construction of a 16-gate Airside D.

Spring break officially runs from March 7 through April 10.