BRADENTON, Fla. -- Dan Talley has been a property manager on Anna Maria Island for 23 years and says many of his guests return annually because they love the quaintness of the island.
“There is not a high rise, there is not the goofy golf on the beach out here. It is all about family time.”
Rene Tirado has been bringing his family to Bradenton Beach for 10 years.
“We like it here because there are no big high rises, so there is a lot less people here and when there is not as many people you don’t feel so congested, you actually have a little peace and quite.”
Winter has typically been the busiest time of the year on the suncoast but that is changing.
“Is there an off season anymore? You know? I mean it just kind of goes right in, the prices might change a lit bit but it just goes right into another crowd,” Talley says, his La Costa Resort booked solid through mid August. He has a good visual of how his summer business has picked up.
“If we just go from 2007 to this year 2014 you can see that is a big change,” he says.
Talley remembers summer business being made up of mainly a lot of Floridians from the central part of the state, but now he has a lot of European customers.
“I have people that are booked in from Sweeden who just actually left yesterday," he says. "I have people from Iceland, New Zealand, I have a guy coming for two weeks from Kuwait."
“We have been seeing on average about a three to six percent vertical increase in visitation for the past three years,” says Elliot Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says they specifically target European countries through advertisement.
“And that really caters to mainly August through Janurary 15th -- what we call more of a shoulder season," Falcione says. "They stay longer and spend more money per day than any other tourist we go after.”
Robert Crayford-Venn brought his family to Anna Maria Island from England because of a recommendation from a friend.
“It is pretty fantastic," he says. "It lives up to all of our expectations actually. It is a wonderful spot.”
Charlie Hardtke has been coming to AMI since he was a boy and has also notice the increase of visitors on the island.
“When we first got here, we would be one of the few families here, and now this place is booked almost completely all summer.