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SANTA ROSA COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Tourist Development Office

Tourist Development Office is responsible for promoting tourism throughout Santa Rosa County. The TDO directs tourism marketing efforts to grow tourism revenue and contribute to the long-term health of our county's economy, while striving to improve the quality of life for our residents. The TDO is also responsible for staffing the Navarre Visitor Information Center and coordinating the efforts of the Santa Rosa Tourist Development Council, an advisory board to the Santa Rosa County Commission. The TDO falls under the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office and the board of county commissioners.

The tourist development office is funded through bed taxes, or the lodging tax paid by visitors staying in Santa Rosa County. As it applies exclusively to rental of living quarters or accommodations for a term of six months or less, it has been nicknamed the "bed tax." Bed taxes can be used only for activities that promote the county.

Tourism is a very important economic driver for Santa Rosa County. According to a 2012 study by the University of West Florida Haas Center, the economic impact of tourism is responsible for over 1,400 jobs with an impact of over $113 million.

Local Marketing Grant Program

The Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office grant program is for funding of local events and related marketing. The county's budget line for local event marketing will now be approved once a year as part of the annual budget process. Organizations must complete a grant application by May 31 to be considered for an estimated $70,000 of tourist development tax funding for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Successful grants will support events that focus on increasing out-of-market awareness of Santa Rosa County, particularly during the shoulder months, with the goal of increasing lodging room occupancy in the county. Allowable expenses can include promotion, marketing, program expenses, paid advertising, production and technical expenses, site fees, rentals, insurance, rights and sanction fees. Projects will be reviewed and ranked by the Santa Rosa Tourist Development Council on June 7, 2016. The TDC will make recommendations to the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners for approval.

Prospective applicants can receive guidance by email, phone or in person at the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office on grant application process, funding guidelines, Florida's Playground branding requirements, authorized uses, the reimbursement process, marketing, etc.

Tourist Development Tax

The Tourist Development Tax is a local sales tax on transient rentals which is authorized and governed by Florida Statute 125.0104 and is collected by the Santa Rosa County Clerk of Court.

In Santa Rosa County, the Tourist Development Tax rate is five percent. Managers of rental properties and owners who manage their own rentals are responsible for collecting, accounting for, and remitting Tourist Development Tax from their guests to the Santa Rosa County Clerk of Court. Remittance is typically due monthly and can be paid online at www.touristtax.com/santarosa.

Answers to frequently asked questions are available at www.touristtax.com/santarosa or by contacting:
Tourist Development Tax Division
Santa Rosa County Clerk of Court
P.O. Box 472
Milton, FL. 32572
(850) 983-1950

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