Mission Statement

The mission of the Walton County Tourism Department is to protect and strengthen the South Walton brand, enhancing the Walton County tourism economy. As the Destination Marketing Organization responsible for promoting tourism and maintaining the local beaches as a primary attraction, we showcase the diverse attractions of these 16 beach neighborhoods and the rich heritage and natural beauty just above the Choctawhatchee Bay. Through creative marketing, dynamic social media engagement, and close collaboration with meeting planners, Walton County Tourism creates exceptional experiences for all visitors, stimulating visitor spending and bolstering the local economy. In turn, Walton County Tourism uses this revenue to enhance community infrastructure and promote safety initiatives.


“Grayton Beach will always be my favorite place to relax and take a break.”
-Kelli Carter, Marketing Director





The Walton County Tourism Department is funded exclusively through a tourist occupancy tax or bed tax, which is collected from visitors on short-term lodging rentals of six months or less. Locals do not pay a bed tax, unless they are taking a "staycation" in local accommodations.  The bed tax collected south of the Choctawhatchee Bay is 5%, and everything north of the Choctawhatchee Bay is 3%.



Each of the pennies has a designated funding purpose.

The breakdown is as follows:

South of the Choctawhatchee Bay

1st and 2nd cents: Administrative, marketing and beach maintenance
Administrative costs come out of the first two cents and the remaining funds are divided amongst marketing to advertise South Walton, to promote tourism, for beach maintenance, to maintain the beach accesses and improve facilities within the boundaries of the 26 miles of coastline south of the Choctawhatchee Bay.

3rd cent: Beach nourishment and maintenance
To finance beach park facilities, beach improvement, maintenance, renourishment, restoration and erosion control of the beach.

4th cent: Product development/shoulder season funding
Funds seasonal marketing, beach safety including lifeguard funding, eco-tourism, Artist of the Year and community recognition programs, event grant sponsorships and marketing, code enforcement, and beach ambassador program.

5th cent: Infrastructure development & improvement
This collection is available to counties determined by the state to be a high-impact tourist county. The Walton County Board of County Commissioners indicated their desire to use these funds to develop, repair or improve visitor-related infrastructure and fund any high-impact operational costs.

North of the Choctawhatchee Bay

Since 2020, The Walton County Board of County Commissioners has been collecting a two penny tax. But recently, they adopted an additional $0.01 Tourist Development Tax north of the Choctawhatchee Bay. So how will the extra money will be utilized in the north?

The money will go towards marketing and promotional efforts, working to generate awareness, drive tourism, and continue to boost the local economy. Additionally, the board plans to utilize the additional funds to share the story of Walton County’s rich history, heritage and ecological gems north of the Bay.




Previous Walton County Tourism Department budgets:

FY2024 YTD Budget Report
FY2023 YTD Budget Report
FY2022 YTD Budget Report
FY2021 YTD Budget Report
FY2020 YTD Budget Report