Visitor revenue on track as early months’ reports issued

Jim Luttjohann

Early results for visitor-based revenue indicate another strong year, although some weather events always put a dent in first quarter revenue.

Nevertheless, the visitor revenue is on track for this year’s budget, according to Jim Luttjohann, president and CEO of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau.

“We did have some weather incidents,” he said, “but overall, the results are good.” According to Luttjohann, actual reporting lags a couple of months behind the calendar year.

According to reports presented to the Chamber for January and February, here are the results:

For January:

• Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT, also known as a hotel bed tax) increased by 3.3 percent

• Admissions tax revenue increased by 1.4 percent

• Harbor Use Fee increased by 6.4 percent

• Local Sales Tax increased by 12.8 percent.

• Sales tax revenue is higher due to prior year adjustments from the State.

• Wharfage Fees, Cross Channel Carriers increased by 4.7 percent;

• Wharfage Fees, Cruise Ships increased by 43.6 percent. Wharfage revenue increases driven by rate increases that went into effect in March 2017 and July 2017

For February:

In February The total Visitor-Driven Revenues increased by 7.9 percent. The increase was driven by the following revenues:

• Transient Occupancy Tax revenues increased by 4.5 percent;

• Admissions Tax revenues increased by 4.8 percent

• Harbor Use revenues increased by 7.6 percent

• Local Sales Tax revenues increased by 13.6 percent

• Cross-Channel Wharfage revenues increased by 7.2 percent

• Cruise Ship Revenues increased by 50.7 percent

Note: According to the Chamber, regarding last month’s TOT, a hotel overpaid its transient occupancy tax in a prior month and was provided a credit for the overpaid amount in January.

The credit reduced January’s TOT total by approximately 3 percent. The credit had a similar impact on February revenues.

The remaining credit partially covered the hotel’s March TOT but should have a minimal impact overall. January revenues have also been updated since the last report to reflect late payments received in April. These payments had a minimal impact on the overall January numbers.

Finally, the Chamber said thanks in part to the number of construction crew members in town occupancy grew to 55.4 percent for February.

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