Amelia Island Events Provide Year-end Economic Boost

Amelia Island Convention Visitors Bureau
Media Release
December 22, 4:00 p.m. 2017

The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has reported a combined economic impact of more than $3.5 million from two of the island’s signature annual events. Research estimates show off-island visitors (overnight guests and day trippers) generated an economic impact of more than $800,000 during the Pétanque Amelia Island Open (Nov. 10-12) and nearly $2.7 million during the award-winning Dickens on Centre (Dec. 8-10), for a combined $3.5 million in one 30-day period. Free to the public and held in downtown Fernandina Beach, both the tournament and holiday celebration are among a full calendar of special events the CVB promotes to attract visitors to the destination.

“Without a doubt, events such as these play an integral role in our marketing strategy and are a key factor in our tourism community’s continued growth and success,” said Gil Langley, president and CEO of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our special events are a consistent draw for visitors and are critical to our efforts to support the industry throughout the year and during key seasons.”

The CVB promotes the annual Dickens on Centre (Dec. 8-10), now in its third year, as the centerpiece of the island’s many holiday events, including the Holiday Home Tour and Holiday Cookie Tour. The estimated $2.7 million economic impact from out-of-town visitors was despite the cancellation of opening night events due to inclement weather. Research also showed local residents spent more than $140,000 at downtown merchants and event vendors. According to Langley, visitor satisfaction for the event topped 97 percent (97.1%), with a large majority expressing plans to return.

The Pétanque Amelia Island Open is the largest pétanque event in the Americas, bringing in players from all 50 states and 19 countries, who contributed to the estimated $800,000 economic impact from off-island visitors. Nearly 90 percent (87.8%) of overnight visitors were there specifically for the pétanque tournament. Also, nearly everyone indicated they were satisfied with their experience (98.5%) and plan to return to Amelia Island (99.1%).

“The success of these events depends on support from the community, and effective coordination and cooperation between CVB staff, volunteers, industry partners and local government,” stated Langley. “It’s a lot to manage, but these numbers confirm it is well worth the time and effort.”

The Amelia Island CVB’s Dickens on Centre event has been honored with multiple marketing awards, including a Henry Award at the VISIT FLORIDA Flagler Awards, and a Silver Award at the HSMAI Adrian Awards.