Tourist Development

Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism

Mission: The mission of the Tourism Development Department (TDD) is to make time spent here, whether visiting living or working, more valuable to all. Fitting, because many residents today began as a tourist! Okaloosa County is a destination rich in family-friendly experiences. Whether visiting the winding rivers flowing through north county tree lines, parks and recreational points of interest or spending a few days at the white sandy beaches reflecting upon the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, the TDD promises to get kids outside... on the water to give their adventurous side room to grow!

Why is tourism important for Okaloosa county? Tourism impacts the local economy in many ways; by creating jobs, contributing to sales tax, infrastructure surtax, contributing to small business revenue, and in our countywide tourist development district, they also fund tourism-related amenities, activities, environmental improvements, protection, restoration and preservation.

Local residents play an important part in making tourists feel welcome through advocacy and hospitality. What actions make you more comfortable when traveling? An authentic local recommendation - Tips on the best time of day to travel - Maybe just a smile.

Organization: Led by a Tourism Director and a Convention Center Manager, a team of experienced and qualified staff perform the mission of the Tourist Development Council (TDC). The TDC serves as an advisory council to the Board of County Commissioners. Click HERE to view the Upcoming TDC Meeting Agenda

The Tourist Development Department is required to promote the area and meet the following objectives below:

  • Promote tourism sales and increase overall visitation through marketing and advertising of our beautiful area to the outside world, generating a maximum return on investment for the local economy. Visit destinfwb.com to learn about our destination
  • Operation of Visitor Welcome Centers, Convention Center, and Film Commission
  • Beach safety and funding of the Beach Safety Life Saving Program (funding of beach lifeguards) Click HERE for important tips on beach safety and the beach flag warning system.
  • Special event funding
  • Research and evaluation of the success of all programs and local economy
  • Protection and improvements to the natural environment through funding of the artificial reef program, public beach access parks, beach trash removal, beach restoration improvements, Sea Turtle Conservation. Learn about ecotourism at destinfwb.com/explore/ecotourism-hotspots
  • Ensure compliance with state statutes and local ordinances as required*​

More About the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism Brand

Located in Northwest Florida, Destin-Fort Walton Beach is not only an ideal place to unwind, but discover natural beauty, encounter wildlife and ultimately uncover the adventurous side within. To help make it easier than ever to discover these experiences, the destination introduced Little Adventures, new, bite-sized challenges that encourage families to get outside, learn something new, and get out of their comfort zones. Whether taking place along the sugar-white sand beaches, out on the crystal-clear Gulf waters, or tucked away along a secluded nature trail, these adventures include dolphin excursions, charter fishing, eFoil lessons, snorkeling, camping, hiking, and more. The family-friendly locale offers an environment of discovery to play and explore, inviting kids to get on the water and give their adventurous side room to grow. Visitors enjoy pristine beaches, Gulf-to-Table seafood, abundant watersport activities, nature trails and campgrounds, numerous attractions, festivals and events designed to thrill all ages.  Located in Northwest Florida, Destin-Fort Walton Beach is not only an ideal place to unwind, but discover natural beauty, encounter wildlife and ultimately uncover the adventurous side within. To help make it easier than ever to discover these experiences, the destination introduced Little Adventures, new, bite-sized challenges that encourage families to get outside, learn something new, and get out of their comfort zones. Whether taking place along the sugar-white sand beaches, out on the crystal-clear Gulf waters, or tucked away along a secluded nature trail, these adventures include dolphin excursions, charter fishing, eFoil lessons, snorkeling, camping, hiking, and more. The family-friendly locale offers an environment of discovery to play and explore, inviting kids to get on the water and give their adventurous side room to grow. Visitors enjoy pristine beaches, Gulf-to-Table seafood, abundant watersport activities, nature trails and camp grounds, numerous attractions, festivals and events designed to thrill all ages. Explore DestinFWB.com. 

 

 


*The TDD is solely funded by the lodging tax paid by visitors staying overnight in short-term rentals in Okaloosa County. The original tourism district collects a 5% Tourist Tax from overnight guests and includes the cities of Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, Mary Esther and Cinco Bayou. Eligible voters recently approved the County to expand to a county-wide tourism development district. The previously created "sub-district" will continue to collect and remit 5%. The remainder of Okaloosa County (recently expanded) "Expansion Area" will collect and remit at the rate of 4%. Short-term overnight rentals include hotels, motels, resort motels, apartments, apartment motels, rooming houses, mobile home parks, recreational vehicle parks, condominiums, condominium hotels, timeshare resorts, residential dwellings or campgrounds for a term of 6 months or less. The Florida Statute 125.104 permits the Board of County Commissioners of Okaloosa County to levy Tourist Development Tax (TDT), and Chapter 20 Article II, Sections 71-78 of the Okaloosa County Ordinances created the Tourist Development Council, established the initial tax rate collection, and identified the special taxing districts with Okaloosa.