PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — As Sunseeker gets closer to opening, we're taking a look at the impact the resort is going to have on tourism in Charlotte County.
"We've been waiting a long time for this to come to fruition," said Sean Doherty, tourism director of the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Convention Bureau. "There's going to be a huge economic impact for the destination."
The impact, he says, is going to come partially through the bed tax. The tax is a 5% fee on your hotel bill. A portion of it goes to the tourism council, which is used to help promote the area.
"Helps us bring in meetings and conventions, sporting events, things of that nature," Doherty explained.
Sunseeker will have 60,000 square feet of combined convention space. Doherty said they can now utilize this to target big conferences, unlike before because the county simply did not have the space in the area.
"It's going to bring in a lot of people to fill in those 785 rooms on a year-round basis," he said.
The bed tax from people staying at the hotel is expected to bring in around $2 million in tourism tax, according to Doherty.
"On an average year, or over the last couple years, we brought in somewhere around $7.5 million of tourist development tax," he explained.
Though the number may seem high, it's actually about 9% down over the last year, an August tourism report detailed.
However, Doherty believes it's going to have a positive impact on the tourism council's wallet and the area it serves.
"It's really going to benefit everybody," he said.
The Sunseeker Resort opens on Friday morning, December 15.