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    TAMPA, FL – April 14, 2017 – With the guidance of Thomas A. Cloud, shareholder in GrayRobinson's Orlando office, Grace H. Yang, shareholder in GrayRobinson's Tampa office, and David L. Smith, managing partner in GrayRobinson's Tampa office, the Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association obtained approval from the Tampa City Council to establish the Downtown/Historic Ybor City Tourism Marketing District, a first-in-Florida special district authorized to collect assessments to pay for tourism marketing expenses. 

    The special district will collect $1.50 per occupied room per night. Estimated annual receipts of $1.4 million will, in turn, be used to pay for marketing aimed at attracting more guests to Hillsborough County, and that expenditure is projected to generate an additional 86,000 room nights annually. 

    Tom, Grace and David worked with Tampa city officials and Hillsborough County officials, including the Hillsborough County Tax Collector to develop the district’s unique funding concept and to gain the City Council’s approval. Ten other states have established 124 similar districts, but this is the first in Florida. The program will provide a buffer against any legislative cuts to tourism-marketing appropriations and could serve as an alternative financing prototype for other cities confronted with similar budget constraints to their tourism marketing dollars.  

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