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Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
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Tampa Bay area hotels see strong July

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— Tourists pumped nearly $40 million into local hotels in July, filling two-thirds of hotel rooms, according to figures released this week by Visit Tampa Bay.

“The numbers continue to be very, very strong,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, in addressing the July tourism report. “Not only was July strong, but I’m really excited about what we’ve seen in August,” he said in a press release.

That $40 million represents only what tourists paid for rooms, said Visit Tampa Bay spokesman Kevin Wiatrowski. “That doesn’t even count food, or spa treatments or rental cars” and other expenditures, he said.

The July hotel figures represent a 4.7 percent increase year over year. Rooms went for an average of nearly $87 per night, an increase of 6.3 percent over 2013, the figures show.

The numbers include those for the first two weeks in operation for Aloft and Le Meridien, two hotels that opened downtown in mid-July. Aloft opened in the former Mercantile Bank building, 100 W. Kennedy Blvd. and Le Meridien opened in Tampa’s historic federal courthouse at 601 N. Florida Ave.

So far this year, 3.4 million hotel nights sold in Tampa Bay, up 5.4 percent over last year, Visit Tampa Bay reported.

Visit Tampa Bay, funded by Hillsborough County, promotes Tampa Bay as a destination for tourists.

Statewide, Florida experienced a record second quarter with 24 million visitors between April and June, according to a press release from the governor’s office issued on Friday. The release quoted numbers from Visit Florida, the state’s tourism arm.

The number of tourist-related jobs was also at a record high statewide with some 1.1 million Floridians employed in tourism jobs, Visit Florida reports. “We are well on our way to reaching our goal of welcoming 100 million visitors to the Sunshine State...,” Gov. Rick Scott said in the release.

yhammett@tampatrib.com

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