Nassau Tourism Works
For Us All

Tourism is Business

Nassau County is a celebrated jewel among both residents and visitors alike. Yet most of us rarely think about how much tourism enriches the quality of life that we enjoy daily. 770,000 visitors annually make Nassau County their destination, impacting and enhancing our lives in ways we might not realize. This influx generates jobs, sustains our favorite restaurants and businesses, provides world-class culture and special events, ensures the cleanliness and renourishment of our beloved beaches. Remarkably, it saves each household $3,707 annually on local and state taxes. Nassau Tourism works for us all, creating a thriving community that benefits each and every resident.


Tourism saves each household $3,707 in annual taxes

Tourism to Nassau County

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36% of all Nassau County jobs.

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nearly $1 Billion in economic impact.

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28.3% of the county’s GDP annually (direct spending)

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over $23 million annually in property tax

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Pays For

over $1.2 Million annually in Beach rehabilitation projects

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restaurants, shops and small businesses open, providing good jobs while supporting over 30 special events enhancing quality of life for locals.

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Demonstrates Return

For every $1 spent on marketing, Nassau County economy receives $262 return, including support for the Nassau County government and the Nassau County school system.


The “Tourism Development Tax” or “bed tax” or “tourism tax”– is a 5% tax charged on short-term lodging (lodging for less than six months) on Amelia Island. Tourists pay the tourism tax when staying in area hotels or short-term rentals (think: Bed & Breakfast, Airbnb). It is not an additional tax paid by County residents.

Tourists pay the tourism tax when staying in area hotels or short-term rentals (think: Bed & Breakfast, Airbnb). It is not an additional tax paid by County residents.

Florida Statutes govern how the tourism tax can be used. Examples of the authorized uses include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) to finance beach park facilities, or beach, channel, estuary, or lagoon improvement, maintenance, re-nourishment, restoration, and erosion control.
(2) to acquire, construct, extend, enlarge, remodel, repair, improve, maintain, operate, or finance public facilities needed to increase tourist-related business activities.
(3) Sponsorship of local businesses, organizations and special events to promote tourism.

Amelia Island has 13 miles of beaches including seven beach parks. Tourism taxes have been used to partner with local governments and other community stakeholders to communicate Nassau County’s “Leave No Trace” Ordinance in an effort to reduce impacts on nesting sea turtles and the physical habitat of shore birds. In addition, more than $400,000 annually is used for beach and beach restroom cleaning across seven beach parks with $4 million in tourism taxes earmarked for beach related capital improvements

Tourism is Nassau County’s main economic driver and is responsible for almost 36% of total county employment and 29% of the County’s GDP. Over 770,000 visitors annually create a direct economic impact of nearly $1 billion (2022). In addition to driving the local economy, Nassau County’s tourism industry improves and protects the quality of life for both residents and visitors by supporting cultural and historical assets while attracting investment in new restaurants, resorts, and other recreational businesses.

Florida Statutes require Nassau County to adopt and implement a Tourism Plan outlining the uses of the tourism tax. The goal of the Tourism Plan is to generate visitation to Amelia Island through special events and area attractions thereby increasing tourism tax revenues. In turn, the tourism tax is used to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors by providing support to the local hospitality industry. Other benefits of the tourism tax include:

  • Maintenance, cleaning and reinvestment into the local beaches and facilities.
  • Sponsorship of local businesses, organizations and special events.
  • Production of key events such as Dickens on Center and Amelia Island Restaurant Week.
  • Operation of the state-of-the-art Welcome Center on Centre Street in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach with welcome ambassadors.
  • Maintenance of the website, newsletters, and social media channels. that continuously bring the story of Amelia Island to life for travelers around the world.
  • Compilation and dissemination of market research.
  • Execution of marketing programs including print and digital cooperative advertising opportunities.

The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council is a 10-member advisory council created to oversee the expenditure of tourism taxes and to make recommendations to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners for the effective use of the tourism taxes. Membership includes city, town and county officials and tourism industry representatives. As part of these duties, the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council reviews the expenditure of tourism taxes to ensure that they comply with the objectives of Nassau County’s Tourism Development Plan and Florida Law.

Since 2008, Nassau County has contracted with the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau to develop and execute the marketing of Amelia Island as a world-class tourism destination. The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is accredited by Destinations International and has been consistently recognized at the state, national and international level for outstanding tourism marketing. Under the guidance and supervision of the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau’s works to maximize the economic impact of tourism, toe support local businesses, and to enhance Amelia Island’s quality of life.

Eligible voters will decide whether the tourism tax should be charged for short-term lodging locations off Amelia Island for the area of the County outside of the current Amelia Island District.

Nassau County has embarked on a Countywide Destination and Community Enhancement Strategy. This Strategy includes an opportunity to expand the benefits of a sustainable tourism economy to residents, community organizations, and small businesses across mainland Nassau County. The Strategy requires a 5- to 10-year investment which could be funded by the additional tourism tax collected from short-term lodging on the mainland.

On the contrary, by showcasing local customs, crafts, traditions, and wild spaces, the expansion of tourism to the west side of Nassau County could provide the ideal platform for the preservation and promotion of the unique rural elements at risk of fading away in a rapidly growing county. Tourism can breathe new life into declining rural areas by attracting visitors and encouraging investment in local businesses resulting in the restoration of historic buildings and the creation of cultural attractions.

Revenue from tourism taxes can relieve citizens from shouldering the entire tax burden and may be used to improve parks, facilities and waterways as well as fund public safety, year-round tourism marketing and more.

Voters outside of the current tourism development taxing district of Amelia Island. Registered voters in the existing district have previously voted in favor, in their district.

The expanded boundaries would include the Town of Callahan and the Town of Hilliard.

Currently, subdistricts are not planned. Once tourism tax revenues are received, the ability to create subdistricts can be considered to assure investments across the county. However, the creation of subdistricts should be done in a limited manner in order not to diminish or fracture the overall efforts of marketing the entire county, public safety funding, and maintenance.

Some benefits of the expansion of the tourism tax for the existing Amelia Island district include:

  • Additional promotional resources including more targeted tourism marketing.
  • Shared cost of overhead for welcome centers and facility maintenance.
  • Diverse tourism offerings for a larger demographic including new tourism audience for eco-tourism, sports-related tourism, and agritourism.
  • Potential extension of visitor stays due to more activities to do and areas to explore.
  • Enhanced tourism public safety resources.
  • Equalization of tourism calendar during Amelia Island off-season and vice-versa.