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Hotel Tax Revenue Drops in Santa Barbara But Tourism is Still Strong

Projections to bring in about $19-million dollars in the hotel bed tax over the last fiscal year in Santa Barbara fell short, but the income to the city is still strong.

In real numbers, Santa Barbara’s budget was boosted by $18, 562,102. The city had projected income of $19,707, 100.

Still it is up significantly from the last two years .

In the 2013 fiscal year, the Transient Occupancy Tax brought in $14.6 million.

Kyle Cockell rents bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals on Cabrillo Boulevard. He says there’s been no shortage of visitors this summer. “Yea we have people all the way down from East Beach and State street we have people from there. Tour buses (parking nearby) we get a big influx from there.”

A visitor and his girlfriend did not stay in a hotel, and chose to book a room in a Vacation Rental. The city would like to see more accountability from those home based businesses, in the form of bed taxes, local officials say are slipping away. “We actually did VRBO and we are staying in a little back house about three miles up the road on Cooper street. It’s awesome. It’s a nice little cottage not too much, but perfect for my fiance and I so we can’t complain,” said Jay Lopez from Long Beach.

The city’s report shows over the last 12 months, the bed tax was off from projections in eight of the months.

In the next couple of years, Santa Barbara will be seeing a big reshaping of the waterfront look, with the Entrada de Santa Barbara hotel project, new retail and restaurants, a children’s museum and two nearly rebuilt bridges near the ocean.

The city is also getting more overnight guests coming to spend a few days beyond the normal tourist sites, and including the Funk Zone, newer art galleries, and numerous beer and wine tasting businesses and that have popped up in the last few years.

This week with the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, the town is expected to be sold out.

For Transient Occupancy figures for the last fiscal year go to:

( more information and video will be posted here later today)

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