Florida Governor Rick Scott visited the Tampa Bay area Thursday to announce an increase in Tampa Bay area tourism and discuss record-setting numbers for tourist tax income.
Hillsborough County set a record for April tourist tax collections, taking in a little more than $3 million.
March 2014 is the best month of bed tax collections ever
Despite the increase in tourism, no Hillsborough County baseball team saw an increase in attendance. Nor did the Tampa Bay Rays.
- Yankees spring training decreased 1.9% and saw its lowest attendance total since 2008
- Although the Tampa Yankees drew 22,170 – their second most since 2007 – their per game average (1,304) was the lowest it is has been since 2008.
- Rays April per game attendance was the lowest it has been since 2011.
Perhaps the problem is that Tampa, and maybe all of Florida, lacks a sports-related tourist destination. Tourists to Chicago visit Wrigley Field. Tourists in Boston see Fenway Park. Tourists in Baltimore make time to see Camden Yards. Tourists in New York City visit Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. It is possible that casual tourists do not include sports in their Tampa trips.
Meanwhile, attendance at Busch Gardens has increased from 2009-2012. Maybe the tourists are going there.