Tourist and Cultural Development


Why Develop Tourism?

Tourism is one of St. Johns County’s primary economic engines, but you don’t have to own a tourism business or even be employed directly in the county’s tourism industry to benefit from the money visitors spend while they are here.

Tourist Development Tax Revenue, levied on overnight stays of less than six months, are utilized to support the 42 miles of white sandy beaches in St. Johns County by providing funding support for beach cleanups, dune walkover repairs, beachside park improvements, boat ramp maintenance, and beach renourishment projects.

Have you been to a concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre or a festival in your neighborhood or a historic reenactment? How about a performance by one of our local professional theatre groups, the community opera, orchestra, or community chorus? The revenue generated by visitors to St. Johns County also helps to financially support these programs which are enjoyed by both residents and visitors.

Visitors, not residents, even pay for the county’s advertising and promotional efforts to entice visitors to come back again. All of the County’s tourist development programs are paid for by tourists.

Continuing to develop Tourism in St. Johns County benefits everyone, and tourism in St. Johns County continues to grow. According to a study completed by Downs & St. Germain Research in 2022, visitors spend approximately $2.4 billion in St. Johns County each year, which is more than three times as much as the $712 million visitors were spending annually ten plus years prior.

Tourism Development Funding


Per Florida Statute, 125.0104, St. Johns County is eligible for and levies five cents of Tourist Development Tax, commonly referred to as “bed tax” on all short-term rentals for resorts, hotels, motels, privately owned homes, condominiums, apartments or campground spaces with a duration of six months or less. The bed tax was initially levied by St. Johns County Ordinance 86-72 with the fifth cent of tax levied by Ordinance 2021-43.

Renting to Visitors & the Tourist Development Tax

Have a private home, condominium, or other type of accommodations that you rent or want to rent to visitors? Here’s a link to the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s Office to help you get started with information about collecting and remitting the Tourist Development Tax.

Tourism is one of St. Johns County’s primary economic engines.

Visitors are spending more than $2.4 billion in St. Johns County annually.

Revenue generated by visitors help financially support programs and attractions which are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.



Tera Meeks Tourism and Cultural Development Director
Dena Masters TDC Program Specialist
Jennifer Zuberer Manager of Tourism Promotional Programs



I want to rent my property to visitors. What do I need to know about the Tourist Development Tax?

Do you have a private home, condominium, or other type of accommodations that you rent or want to rent to visitors? Here’s a link to the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s Office to help you get started with information about the Tourist Development Tax.

How is revenue collected?

Taxes are collected by the St. Johns County Tax Collector. Initially, the revenues were collected by the State of Florida which charged a six percent (6%) collection fee. In 1988, the County adopted a Resolution transferring the collection responsibilities to the County Tax Collector; at which time the collection fee became two percent (2%).

How is revenue allocated?

The St. Johns County Commission has set by Ordinance 21-34 the division of funds as follows:

  • 32% - Destination Marketing
  • 12% - Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • 12% - Leisure and Recreation
  • 16% - Administrative Expenses, Special Uses and Special Events
  • 28% - Beach Assets

Who is responsible for ensuring the revenues are properly spent?

The Tourist Development Council has initial responsibility for the funds. They make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners on which projects should be funded and in what amount. Funding proposals are to be submitted to the Tourist Development Council for review and recommendation before action by County staff or consideration by the Board of County Commissioners. The Clerk of the Court is the county chief financial officer and has pre-audit responsibilities for all the Tourist Development Council expenditures. The final authority for the revenues and expenditures rests with the Board of County Commissioners.

Who serves on the Tourist Development Council?

Florida Statute 125.0104 requires a nine-member Tourist Development Council and also states how the members are chosen. One member is from the County Commission. Two other elected officials also serve, one of whom must represent the most populous municipality in the county. Three members must be owners or operators of lodging facilities and must collect the tax. Three members must be involved in the tourist industry and have demonstrated a general interest in tourist development, but cannot be owners or operators of a lodging facility.

Equal representation should be accorded the greater St. Augustine area, the St. Augustine Beach/Crescent Beach area, and Ponte Vedra Beach when selecting lodging industry representatives for the board. The statute further provides for four-year terms. In 1990, the Tourist Development Council set policy that members may serve only one four-year term and the term’s expiration dates be extended from June 6 to September 30.

In the event the member is appointed chair, the member may serve up to six years. In the event a vacancy occurs, the Board of County Commissioners solicits resumes for appointment. Notification of openings will be provided by the Tourist Development Council to local tourism industry trade groups.

When and where are Tourist Development Council meetings held?

The Tourist Development Council is required by the authorizing legislation to meet at least four times per year. The meetings are generally held on the third Monday of every other month in the County Auditorium at 500 San Sebastian View at 1:30 p.m. Notices of meeting dates and times are furnished to members of the media well in advance of scheduled meetings. 

What is the process for the development of policies?

The Tourist Development Council develops policies and procedures for approval by the Board of County Commissioners. Input from the public is encouraged at all times.

How can I find out information and apply for the Arts/Culture/Heritage (ACH) Funding Program?

The St. Johns Cultural Council administers the ACH Grant Program. Information about the grant program, including guidelines, deadlines, grant portal (online application), and workshop registration, is available on the Cultural Council’s website by clicking on the below button.

How can I find out information and apply for the Sports Event Grant Program?

The TDC’s Category III Sports Funding Program is permitted under state statutes as a means of advertising and promoting tourism to St. Johns County. Funding is to be used for presenting high-quality amateur or professional athletic events that will attract overnight visitors, and to advertise and promote these activities.

Below are the priority considerations the TDC will look for when evaluating sports funding requests.

  • Economic Benefit. Focus will be on the total number of out-of-county participants and spectators and the length of their stay.
  • Dates of the Event. Priority consideration will be given to events held during periods of lower occupancy.
  • Duration of the Event. Priority consideration will be given to those with more days or overnight stays in St. Johns County.
  • Potential for Future Events. Priority consideration will be given to those event organizers with similar or related events that could be held in the county.
  • Sports Segments. Priority consideration will be given to activities that diversify the events held in the county.
  • Event Visibility. Priority consideration will be given to high-profile events such as national, state and regional championships.


  • Eligible Events - An eligible athletic event consists of game(s), exhibition(s), tournament(s), and other sports-related events planned, presented, promoted and played at planned intervals in St. Johns County.
  • Objective - To attract high-quality amateur and professional sporting events which, in turn, advance and promote tourism and enhance the quality of life in St. Johns County through sports.
  • Process - Award grants for reimbursement of approved expenses for qualified athletic events to event organizers with a proven ability to present and promote quality sports opportunities in cooperation with the tourism industry. (Reimbursement is made after completion of the event and submission of a final event report, which includes verification of actual room nights by local hotels.) Reimbursement is not contingent upon the number of room nights but upon submission of the receipts for eligible expenses. Grantees may not submit duplicate receipts to another government agency for reimbursement.


Grant applications must be submitted and received for review at least 120 days prior to the event and before the deadline listed below. Grants will be approved two times a year.


Phase 1 - The online grant application portal is now open for events occurring between Oct. 1, 2024 through March 30, 2025. The deadline to apply is July 21, 2024.



How to I find out information and apply for the Autism Certification Matching Grant Program?

The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce manages the grant program. Information about the program is available on the chamber's website by clicking on the below button.