The city of Santa Barbara collected $1,262,304 in transient occupancy taxes for March 2021, 119% above March collections last year — the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared to March 2019, the revenues collected in March 2021 were lower by 12%.
“The local travel industry is beginning to see increases in demand for rooms relative to recent months that is likely to continue throughout the spring into the summer months as the State has lifted travel advisories and as access to vaccinations has become more available,” Jennifer Tomaszewski, finance and treasury manager for the city, said in a news release. “However, TOT revenues have still not recovered to typical pre-pandemic levels, as there is still public concern with potential new strains of the virus, efficacy of the vaccines and the impacts to the economy.”
The city has collected $9.6 million through the first nine months of the city’s fiscal year, which runs through June 30. The city’s adopted TOT budget is $17.2 million. TOT is projected to end the fiscal year at approximately $14.5 million, which is 16% below budget.
Transient Occupancy Tax, also known as bed tax, is charged to guests at short-term rentals such as hotels and motels.
In fiscal year 2019-20, the city collected $15.1 million in Transient Occupancy Taxes, nearly $5 million less than the anticipated budgeted amount.