“Faster Than Expected” Recovery of Amelia Island Tourism

Visitation trends look positive with near sellouts at hotels and resorts during a signature event & holiday weekend. Advance bookings “very strong.”

Successful May 2021 Amelia Island Concours Week & Memorial Day help spur recovery. June & July 2021 advance bookings “very strong.”

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – After a tumultuous 2020, the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is seeing much-needed improvement for Nassau County’s beleaguered tourism industry.

Estimated lodging taxable sales in April 2021 were a near record $18.4 million, resulting in bed tax collections 70% over budget for the month. May 2021 is expected to show similar increases, due in large part to a successful Amelia Island Concours Week (May 19-23) and Memorial Day weekend.

“The increases we’re seeing are from a combination of pent-up demand, strong pricing among our lodging partners, and consistent messaging to travelers.”

Gil Langley, President & CEO, Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

“Clearly more people are ready to return to travel, and Amelia Island is more appealing than ever, which is driving a faster than expected recovery.” According to Langley, advance bookings for June 2021 and July 2021 are very strong, with weekend dates nearly sold out.

At more than $18.4 million, estimated taxable sales on lodging in April 2021 were a near record, second only to the $20.5 million in July of 2019, and almost 13% (12.99%) higher than April of 2019. The resulting bed tax collections were approximately $930,000, which was 70% over the CVB’s budget for the April. In the month of May 2021, estimated lodging taxable sales were $17.5 million, a 21% increase compared to $14.5 million in 2019, due largely to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and Memorial Day holiday.

Despite increased room inventory on the island, both events saw traditional hotel occupancies in the lower 80% to lower 90% range. According to a study conducted by Research Data Services, Inc., off-island visitors to this year’s Amelia Concours Week 2021 generated an estimated economic impact of $26.4 million, which is just 9.3% shy of last year’s event, despite the lack of international visitors who were unable to attend the award-winning car event due to travel restrictions. Although the total economic impact was slightly smaller, there was a 13.1% increase in the number of visitors staying in commercial lodging on island during Concours Week.

The "Best in Show: 2021 Concours d’Elegance Trophy winner, 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet. (Photo credit: Deremer Studios, via Facebook post).
The “Best in Show: 2021 Concours d’Elegance Trophy winner, 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet. (Photo credit: Deremer Studios, via Facebook).

“Recognizing the value of Amelia Island as a host site and partner, the organizer’s decision not to cancel last year’s event, and to move this year’s event from March to May proved to be a stroke of genius,” said Langley. “That gave a huge boost to our local tourism industry at two critical times, and made the Amelia Island Concours the only international car show of its kind to manage back-to-back annual events despite the pandemic.”

Also bolstering local tourism in May 2021 was the Memorial Day weekend, which saw near sellouts among hotels and resorts (occupancy ranging from 85.7% to 91.4%), average daily rates (ADR) hovering near $400, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) of $372.62 on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

Memorial Day weekend 2021, beach scene, Peters Point, Amelia Island Living magazine.
Memorial Day Weekend 2021, Peters Point Beach. (Photo AmeliaIslandLiving.com)

“The trends are looking positive, so barring any major weather events or health emergencies, our local tourism industry should continue to recover and strengthen over the summer, which will benefit everyone,” stated Langley. “A strong calendar of events and plenty of outdoor options will give us an edge over competing warm-weather destinations.”

Source: Press release, Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (June 11, 2021)