Tourism making major comeback in Naples and Collier County
April’s tourist numbers naturally show a huge increase from a year ago, when the national lockdown was underway, but more relevantly they are also show strong gains compared with 2019:
– A 9% increase in visitors
– A 24% increase in room nights
– A 20% increase in economic impact
– A 2% increase in occupancy
In Collier County, April might have been a bit unusual, drawing visitors here who may have wanted to come sooner, but waited to get vaccinated — or just to feel more comfortable with traveling, according to Anne Wittine, the director of data analysis for Research Data Services, the county’s tourism consultant.
“So this isn’t quite a normal pattern, but it’s extremely, extremely good news,” she said.
A separate report by tourism research firm STR shows the Naples area outperforming much of its competition in Florida in April, with higher occupancy and average daily rates than most, including Fort Myers, or Lee County.
Collier County saw 743,500 visitors from January to April. That’s a 27% increase over last year and a 6% decrease over 2019.
Likewise, in those four months, room nights and spending rose by double digits over the year. Spending — or economic impact — almost caught up to the level it reached in 2019 — topping $1 billion.
Hoteliers have reported the busy season, which traditionally runs from November to April, turned out better than expected.
In explaining one of the reasons for a stronger season Wittine repeated what a hotelier told her: Americans, tired of staying home, or close to it, just said: “Stuff it. We’re going anyway.”
With virtually no European and fewer than normal Canadian visitors this season, the expectation is that next winter will be a bumper one for tourism. finding a rental for next winter has been hard for months.
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