SARASOTA COUNTY (SNN)-- In 2021, Sarasota county collected over 31 million dollars in tourist tax revue but as the Suncoast becomes a more popular place for people to visit, some city officials are looking to raise that tax rate.

After months of lockdowns, everyone was ready to get out of their 6-foot bubble and make their way to the Suncoast for a vacation.

“Sarasota County is exactly what people were looking for," President of Visit Sarasota County, Virginia Haley said. "It's a place where you can be outdoors and in nature and so people felt safe coming here.”

The county was such a hot spot for travelers that Sarasota is now deemed a “high-impact” tourism area, giving the county the option to increase the tourist tax from 5 to 6%.

The tax is collected by anyone who stays at a hotel or Airbnb in Sarasota for under 6 months.

City officials believe this could greatly benefit permanent residents.

“Here in Sarasota County, we use that tax for a lot of things that those of us who are locals appreciate, Nathan Benderson Park, spring training facilities, and 30 different art groups. It’s very important to our community this money that visitors generate,” said Haley.

While some fear that a tax increase will deter those from coming, county leaders are confident that the pros outweigh the cons.

“Visit Sarasota County, did a study where they found there wouldn’t be a big impact on tourism from it being such a small 1% tax increase,” said Director of Sarasota County office of financial management, Kim Radtke.

With 34% of the annual collections going to things like beach maintenance, many believe it will actually encourage more people to visit.

“It’s not affecting the residents here," said Radtke. "It’s only impacting the tourists that come and stay but everyone benefits from the tax by the infrastructure or anything that we do so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

The commission will hold a public hearing on the matter at a budget workshop on March 30th, and if that goes forward, a decision could be made by late April.