In another sign that the region’s tourism industry is entering boom times again, the city of Santa Barbara experienced double-digit growth in hotel taxes in the first eight months of its fiscal year.
During the annual State of the City breakfast on March 24, City Manager Jim Armstrong said that Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT, revenue through February was 14.4 percent higher than a year earlier, totaling $10.6 million. The city has projected that full-year TOT will rise 10.2 percent to $16.2 million.
The growth in tourism revenue, as well as a 5.2 percent increase in sales tax revenue, are welcome signs, said Armstrong, who added that the city continues to restore reserve funds that were depleted during the recession and California budget crunch.
Mayor Helene Schneider drew laughter, sighs of relief and scattered applause when she told about 400 business and community leaders that the city expects full development of the much-delayed La Entrada hotel project on Santa Barbara’s waterfront. The project is expected to pull permits this spring and resume construction in June.
The program was hosted by the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce and held at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.