Tourist Development Tax Funding

For complete guidelines see the Tourist Development Council Guidebook.

What is the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) about?

The idea behind the TDT is to increase the utilization of lodging rooms and to increase the room revenues and the related tax on such rentals. The events and projects selected for TDT funding are those that successfully generate lodging room overnight stays that increase the local tax receipts to the County. Local TDT receipts collected by the County are used to leverage greater out-of-market visitation and repeat visits from people who stay overnight in Hillsborough County to enjoy the venues and events.

Who can apply?

  • Only governmental and non-profit organizations can apply for a Tourist Development Tax (TDT) award, unless otherwise specified
  • Non–profit organizations must hold a valid 501 (c) status to receive funding

Is the project eligible for TDT funding?

The TDC has made out-of-area marketing the funding priority. Thus, use of TDT funding to recipient agencies is primarily for the reimbursement of expenses for media advertising and associated production, the production and distribution of tourism promotion materials, and the marketing of special events.

There are three major marketing programs expanded in 2016, to capture basic elements of the visitor-based tourism economy, and complement our core visitor initiatives with the leisure traveler, convention and meeting delegates, and the sports event traveler. The Visitor programming groups are:

  1. Visitor Experience (VE) Program
  2. Festivals and Events Program (Festivals)
  3. Out-of-Area Marketing Co-Operative (Co-op) Program

For complete details on the approved uses for Tourist Development Tax funds please refer to the Guidebook.

What are some initial steps?

  • Review of the scope of the proposed project, including:
    • The description of the project
    • How TDT funding would be used
    • How other funding sources would match the TDT award
    • The total budget for the event or program, and other details
  • The details should include a good estimate of the number of overnight stays (or room nights) in lodging properties which will be directly generated by the event
    • Complimentary room nights should be identified, but not counted in the overall contribution
  • Talk with representatives of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB/Visit Tampa Bay) and/or the Tampa Bay Sports Commission (if sports-related) to determine if these organizations can provide or link your group to, the support that you seek
    • Both organizations receive financing from the TDC to promote marketing initiatives for special events
    • They may offer special cooperative marketing programs and event sponsorships or other types of support over the year
  • Make sure that your organization has a business plan and that the event or program, supported with a marketing plan, is a means to achieve its long-range objectives
  • After ensuring that your documentation is complete, meet with the Economic Development Department staff to review the concept, supporting materials, partnership arrangements and number of room nights to be generated

What is the application timeline?

The two-year funding cycle coincides with the Hillsborough County budget cycle. A public notice is issued about the availability of the TDT funding application in November of even-numbered years (biennially). The deadline for the submission of applications is by January with evaluation, project selection and recommendations made by the TDC by April and forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners by May.

The application for the FY 18- FY 19 award cycle, is open. (See: "Notice of Tourist Development Tax Funding Application Period for FY 2018-2019") The Apply for the Tourist Development Tax Funding page provides further details and a downloadable application.

Signed applications are due: By 4 p.m., Monday, January 23, 2017

Applications that are not delivered by the deadline, and/or are incomplete as of the due date, will be considered LATE and not eligible for consideration.

How can an organization apply?

Contact Department staff at (813) 272-6212 to discuss the organization’s proposed project, event or initiative. After meeting with the staff, all parties may agree that a formal request to the TDC is appropriate.