About

About

Our gently rolling hills, orange groves and charming small towns make this a relaxing country getaway...

Highlands County, Florida

The Heart of Florida… Highlands County. Here in the center of the Sunshine State, you’ll find crystal clear lakes for fishing, boating, skiing and sailing, and more than a dozen golf courses. Our gently rolling hills, orange groves and charming small towns make this a relaxing country getaway – and our central location provides easy access to Florida’s best attractions without the hustle and high prices of the major tourist areas. It’s the best of both worlds – within two hours of most major attractions yet removed enough for that get-away-from-it-all feeling. Come discover Highlands County for yourself!

Mission Statement

To promote Highlands County as a friendly, attractive and diverse destination for tourism, thus creating a positive economic impact benefiting the entire community.
Adopted November 21, 2013 by the Highlands County Tourist Development Council

Highlands County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB)

WHAT IS THE VCB?
The Highlands County Visitor & Convention Bureau serves as a destination marketing organization that works to generate overnight stays, increase tax revenues, stimulate economic growth and strives to constantly enhance the image of Highlands County. The VCB is also commonly referred to as the Office of Tourist Development. Some of the functions of the Tourism Office include maintaining the tourism website VisitHighlandsCounty.com, maintaining a database of tourism-related businesses, developing and maintaining strong relationships with tourism businesses in the community, lead fulfillment, participation in relevant associations and exhibition at trade shows, travel expos and conferences. Stated simply, the role of the Tourism Office is to promote and support tourism in Highlands County.

Staff


Director of Tourism – TBD
Tourism Administrative AssistantDana Knight

Highlands County Tourist Development Council (TDC)

WHAT IS THE TDC?
The Tourist Development Council oversees the spending of the bed tax dollars. Its members are appointed to four-year terms by the Board of County Commissioners. The nine-member Tourist Development Council is typically made up of one representative from the Board of County Commissioners, two municipal officials, three owners or operators of tourist accommodations which are subject to the tax and three members of the community who are not subject to the tax but have demonstrated an interest in tourism development. The TDC is also responsible for producing the Tourism Development Plan and revising it as needed.

Council Members

TDC ChairDon Elwell – Highlands County Board of County Commissioners
Municipal OfficialJohn Griffin – City Of Sebring
Municipal OfficialTerry Heston – City of Avon Park
AccommodationsChristine Hatfield – Inn on the Lakes
AccommodationsReinhard Haubner – Chateau Élan Hotel & Conference Center
AccommodationsLeila Currence – Marriott Residence Inn
Tourism InterestMegan Bell – Sun N Lake Golf
Tourism InterestJohn Ruggiero – Highlands Lakes Association
Tourism InterestCynthia Garren – South Florida State College

2015/16 Tourist Development Meeting Schedule

Tourist Development Council
Meetings are held on the last Thursday of every month at the County Commissioner’s Board Room on South Commerce Avenue in Sebring @ 8:15am
Meeting Dates & Locations are Subject to Change

Marketing Committee Meeting
August 12, 2015
November 11, 2015
February 10, 2016
May 13, 2016
August 10, 2016

Lakes Projects Committee Meeting
October 19, 2015
January 18, 206
April 18, 2016
July 18, 2016
October 17, 2016

Marketing Meetings are held at 505 South Commerce Avenue (Engineering Training Room) and the Lake Projects Committee Meetings are held at the Visitor & Convention Bureau (Conference Room), 501 South Commerce Avenue in Sebring @ 8:30am
Meeting Dates & Locations are Subject to Change

Tourist Development Tax

WHAT IS THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX?
The Tourist Development Tax(TDT) is a 2% tax on all transient accommodations in Highlands County. You may also hear the TDT referred to as the Resort Tax, Bed Tax, Local Option Tourist Tax, Transient Rental Tax, etc. All of these terms refer to the 2% TDT tax.

DO I HAVE TO COLLECT THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX?
Your business is responsible for collecting and remitting this tax if you provide sleeping accommodations that are rented for a period of six months or less(some exemptions apply), or if you have rentals longer than six months without a written lease.

Additional Information

For an overview of Tourist Development and the Tourist Development Tax in Highlands County, use the Request-Info section.
Type-in Tourist Development in the “Additional Comments” section and we would be happy to send that information to you.