Bed tax revenues reached record numbers for 2021 in Chautauqua County as tourism rebounded in the area.
County Executive PJ Wendel announced that after tourism declined in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, the 2021 occupancy tax revenues exceeded expectations by nearly 40% with revenues exceeding budget by more than $500,000. Revenues exceeded 2019 levels, before the pandemic, by 5.4%.
Wendel said when compared to New York State as a whole, in 2021, international visitation to the state was down 86% and domestic visitation dropped by 37% as compared to 2019.
He said a 2020 agreement with Airbnb to facilitate their direct collection of occupancy tax payments from each short-term rental venue helped with overall enforcement efforts.
According to county occupancy tax data and the 2021 Smith Travel Research (STR) report for Chautauqua County, hotel occupancy still lagged behind pre-pandemic levels, indicating growth in other accommodation segments such as cottages and short-term Airbnb and VRBO rentals.
Three-fifths, or 3%, of the revenue that is generated from the County’s occupancy or “bed tax” is used to increase tourism, conventions, trade shows, special events, and other directly related or supporting activities. Two-fifths, or 2%, of the occupancy tax is utilized solely for the enhancement and protection of lakes and streams in Chautauqua County.