Walton County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Jim Bagby told a Chamber of Commerce lunch crowd last week that the future of tourism in
Bed tax collections have grown 6.4 percent, resulting in millions in revenue.
The business of
Bagby said the TDC seeks to grow that industry and reach out to those we want to come here.
The ones they seek to come here would have a household income of $125,000 or more and a household net worth of over $1 million.
Every year bed tax collections have gone up, this past year, almost in the double digits.
The money collected goes not only to marketing to reach these households, but also to maintain the bike paths, salaries, beaches, and beach walkovers.
Bagby hopes the half-cent tax passed five years ago will continue and be used for maintenance, operations and the bike paths.
The TDC is currently working to bring more visitors from
The largest population of visitors have consistently come from
The fasting growing in new visitors is the
"Once you come, you keep coming back until you buy," said Bagby. "The future of tourism in
The increase in full-time residents is showing up in increased voter registrations in the south end of the county, with 48 percent of registered voters in the county living south of the bay.
"We're living in one of the fastest-growing areas of
However, the race is on to see which beach community wins those full-time residents, and Bagby says the winner will be the one who gets a four-lane built to
When that is accomplished, we will get not only more full-time residents, but also more industry.
But as more full-time residents come, there will be less units available for rent to tourists.