The first room tax numbers with a prior year comparison are now in, and the numbers from May show a slight increase in the number of room nights filled in the 11 municipalities that were part of the Door County Tourism Zone in both May 2007 and May 2008. Washington Island and Gardner joined the zone later.
The total number of nights rented rose from 19,075 in May of 2007 to 21,548 in the same month in 2008, a 12.9 percent increase. Room tax revenue went up almost $8,000 in the original eight municipalities, and the occupancy rate overall jumped from 23.14 to 26.05 percent
The average daily rate fell from $97.85 to $95.
Total collections for the month were $115,541, up from $104,500 last year. Thirty percent of collections, or $30,134, was returned to municipalities.
Sister Bay saw the largest decline in collections, which dropped nearly $3,600, owed in large part to the loss of Helms Four Seasons, a 42-unit motel which was demolished to make way for an expanded waterfront park. The Town and Village of Egg Harbor each saw significant increases in revenue, rising about $2,500 each. An increase was expected in part because enforcement and collection of the tax has been improved since it was first implemented a year ago, making it harder to avoid payment.
While room tax data provides a good barometer of how many people are visiting the county, it does not give any indication of how much or where they are spending their money once they get here.