According to the July data report from the Mississippi Department of Revenue, Columbia's 3% tourism tax collection for May held steady at an impressive $87,498.02.
This special tax, which is imposed strictly on restaurants and hotels, is reported each month based on the collections from two months prior. July's report reflects taxes collected in May.
By comparison, the monthly collections for the three months preceding May were: $89,219.57 (for April), $87,693.34 (for March) and $77,423.23 (for February). Overall, Columbia's tourism tax collections for this fiscal year (July 2020 through May 2021) total $878,913.40, for a monthly average of $79,901.21.
To date (for this fiscal year), the MDR report indicates that Columbia's lowest amount of tourism tax was $72,106.08 collected in November 2020, likely because shoppers were saving for Christmas expenses. In contrast, the city's highest amount of collections occurred in April at $89,219.57.
Due to the support and participation of the local business community, and the persistent efforts of organizations such as the Marion County Development Partnership and Main Street, economic projections are predicted to continue in a positive direction.
Upcoming projects planned by local city and county government officials and the Columbia School District are also expected to help boost the economy by attracting outside revenue, as visitors are drawn to enjoy new activity and entertainment opportunities, including the redesigned Gardner Stadium at Columbia High School, the renovated and enhanced Friendship Park and the new SportsPlex.
Although the SportsPlex is still in the design and implementation phase, the location has been determined and steps are underway to proceed. Gardner Stadium construction is expected to be completed by early September, and many of the landscape upgrades and the playground equipment replacement at Friendship Park are anticipated to be finished by early 2022.
So even though not all of the new attractions to Columbia will have an immediate impact on the economy, a common theory within the community is that when visitors do start coming, they will be spending money to eat and some will need hotel rooms to stay overnight.