SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida is usually a hot spot during the Summer for vacations.
Unfortunately, it's now a hot spot for COVID-19.
But even so, the virus has only slightly affected tourism along the Suncoast.
Eric Carin manages Cedar Cove Resort in Holmes Beach and sits on the Manatee County Tourist Council.
He says the county's tourism rate is holding steady.
“With everything that’s going on in the world, it’s basically flat. Quite frankly we’re happy with flat. We’re not seeing and an insurgence, we’re not currently seeing a drop off. We’re currently very satisfied with that flat appearance,” Carin said.
According to the county’s Tourist Council, the hotel and short-term stays “tended to be shorter and most properties told us that rates were lower than last July”.
But on the positive side, several properties report seeing some pick up in a group and corporate business and 42.9% said they had room nights related to sporting events including baseball, softball, and golf in July.
Over in Sarasota County, the Chamber of Commerce reports there has been an increase in travel, but only on weekends.
“The hotel capacity and vacation rentals are full on the weekends. But what we’re missing is that business traveler. The meetings, the conventions that would come and utilize the hotels from Monday through Thursday in that capacity that’s where we are soft currently,” says Heather Kasten, who is the President of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.
According to Visit Sarasota, in April, Sarasota’s lodging occupancy and average daily rates were higher than Florida or that of the U.S. and that trend continues into July.
Kasten says back in March when international flights were halted, it took a major bite out of Suncoast tourism.
“We really are an international destination it has impacted us. But certainly, we are missing that international travel,”
Manatee County was affected as well.
“European travel has certainly hurt tourism in Florida. We’re hoping it comes back as soon as this COVID gets straightened out,” says Carin.