Charlotte County Tourism Update

Joint projects

The SWF VCBs partnered on a craft brews and spirits trail in 2016.  That piece has been very popular.  The piece is being updated this year.  Sarasota was the lead on this project.

SWF VCBs are partnering on a destination awareness campaign with Allegiant Airlines.  The campaign will include radio and on-line advertising in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, OH and Harrisburg, PA.  Each VCB will also be placing advertising in those markets to amplify the message. 

2016 In Review

Visitation was up 2.5% in 2016 vs. 2015

Direct visitor expenditures were up 4.99%

Economic Impact was up 4.99%

Chicago became the number one feeder, during season, for Charlotte County rising from #4 in 2015.   We anticipate Chicago will hold on to the top slot now that Frontier has non-stop service to PDG. 

Tampa remains the airport of choice for SWF arrivals.  46.4% of all Charlotte County visitors who flew to SWF chose Tampa. 

Q1 2016 saw a 5.3% drop in visitation from within the state of Florida

Visitation from the Southeastern U.S. was up 23.8%

Visitation from the Northeastern U.S. was up 5.3%

Visitation from the Midwest was down 5.9%

Visitation from Europe was up an impressive 49.1% (Strong German and UK advertising push)

Canadian visitation to the U.S. was down 16.3% on a weaker currency

Impact of travel ban & perception of U.S.: Travel data analytics firm ForwardKeys said travel bookings to the U.S. declined 6.5 percent year over year following the order. The Global Business Travel Association pegs the loss from bookings in the week following the order at $185 million. 

Travel outlook for 2017 is optimistic even with increased supply.  The forecast is for modest growth but not decline. 

Tourist Development Tax

Tourist Development Tax collections began recovering and climbing in a near vertical trajectory in 2010.  We have had 7 years of year-over-year solid growth.  The first two months of 2017 seemed they might be a harbinger of a cooling economy or, at the least, a sign of discretionary spending pull-back but from all indications March looks like it will come in strong.  We are hoping the negative numbers we saw earlier in the year can be chalked up to some wariness in both domestic and international markets due to the election.

TDT: Looking ahead

With more than 1,400 rooms coming into Southwest Florida in the next 16 months, the region will be under significant pressure to increase demand to meet the influx of new accommodations.  The added competition could exert downward pressure on rates which, in-turn could affect TDT revenue.

Allegiant & Frontier

Total passenger count for the twelve months ending March 31, 2017 is 1,186,796.

Passenger count for March 2017 was 141,802.

This is a 23.32% increase in passenger traffic for March 2017 compared with March 2016 (121,695) passengers.

In March, there were 69,630 boarding passengers and 72,172 arriving passengers. This is the 41st consecutive month the Punta Gorda Airport has seen an increase in passenger traffic in year over year monthly traffic.

Babcock Ranch

Southwest Florida’s newest community and the only one in the U.S. that is solar-powered, offers opportunities for domestic and international visitation.  It is an attraction simply because of its uniqueness.

The Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Gardens are scheduled to open in October 2017.  The sculptures come from all over the world and are originals by internationally acclaimed artists.