By Cindy Jackson
Reporter
May 22, 2020

Said Langley, “the only time things have been worse was when there were no hotels on the Island.”

Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island Tourism Development and Convention Bureau, (AICVB)) was in the audience at the most recent meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020.

While not on the official agenda, Langley was there to inform the Commission and to put into perspective the severity of the downturn experienced in the tourism industry here on Amelia Island as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Chair Danny Leeper (who is the Chairman of the Amelia Island Tourism Council) – AITC) – the body which oversees the Amelia Island Tourism and Convention Bureau, (AITCB), recognized Mr. Langley and invited him to approach the podium.

The news was not good, not surprisingly.

Said Langley, “the only time things have been worse was when there were no hotels on the Island.”

As case in point and to speak to the devastating impact Covid-19 has had, Langley compared and contrasted figures from 2019 to the present day.

The occupancy rate for April 2019 was 81.8% compared to the occupancy rate for April 2020 which was just 9.1%. Down 88.9%.

In 2019, the average room rate was $278 but in 2020 but with all things considered, the room rate for 2020 received is just $134.00/night. Down 51.5%

Revenue Per Available Room – $12.27 versus $228.09 in 2019. Down 94.5% It could have been worse! (Langley explained, “Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) is an industry standard metric. It takes all the revenue generated for the month and divides it by the total number of room nights available from all properties. On Amelia Island the formula is $569,005 (versus $12,795,730 in 20219) divided by total available room nights 46,380. The Omni was closed for the entire month, so their rooms were not included.”)

In an attempt to make the most of a bad situation, Langley announced that his team has changed their marketing plans.

For example, in the past few years, the AITDC has taken advantage of marketing statistics which say, in essence, “the further away the visitor, the more money they spend.” Sounds good. Makes sense.

But all of that has changed since the pandemic.

Now, Langley announced the AITDC will focus their advertising efforts on potential customers within “drive markets,” — places like Tallahassee, Orlando, and Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia.

Langley also stated that their “Phase II” advertising efforts will then be focused on other “drive” markets to include Atlanta, Georgia, Nashville, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina.

For a copy of their marketing plan you may want to visit:

http://ameliaislandtdc.com/resources/marketing-plan

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Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet
2 years ago

In as much as based upon a current $330,000 house assessment, those of us within City limits pay roughly $1,200.00 more per year vs. county residents, I am assuming this is because in the city we have “amenities”, I’d propose the following: . For $100.00 per month perhaps in “marketing Amelia Island” we could have one(1) weekend per month with NOTHING going on. City residents pay a premium to live here. It would be wonderful to see the sand on the beach vs. wall to wall Tourestias. Enough already. How wonderful March and April were without The Golden Hordes of Tourestias. I heard time and again, “this is what Amelia Island was twenty years ago.” Joyful bliss. How’s about our City Fathers dial back on spending and allow the residents to breath? Want to “beat the Pandemic”? Lower the density Gents(i.e. Tourestias)

Russell Jahn
Russell Jahn
2 years ago

Thank You Mr, Velvet,

The tourism board has done the job and we are an extremely well recognized destination but it is now past time to concentrate less on enticing the hoards to devastate our island and try to preserve what made us such an ideal place to visit. That would include a large reduction in their funding.

Meg Milton
Meg Milton
2 years ago

We keep hearing, no tourists. Well come on down to our neck of the woods. Summer beach. For the last several weeks, we have had more guests than a normal May. The license plates in the parking lot(which btw is completely full today) are from Georgia mostly,New York etc. I don’t understand who thought anyone would not rent when they can find away around it. The Ritz parking lot is full, the beach is full. We have heard from workers at the local grocery that their have been many many out of towners buying booze and breakfast items for the past few weeks. We have heard from cleaning companies that owners renting are not going with the time laspe between guests. Several weeks back lots of New York and beyond were here also. I think they should investigate instead of saying no ones here. Really?

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