Tourists Flocking to Amelia Island Despite Increasing Costs

Florida Politics
By Wes Wolffe
May 22, 2022

Occupancy is up 8% at hotels, while the average daily rate is up 19%.

There aren’t enough people who want the service jobs offered on Amelia Island, the reasons for which are varied. Without enough workers to properly service the island’s hotels and resorts at top capacity, management of these properties have taken steps like raising their rates, but tourism demand remains strong.

According to numbers received Tuesday regarding traditional lodging on the island, occupancy is up 8%, while the average daily rate is up 19%.

“The really incredible thing is taking a look at the revenue for 12 months running, is actually up 85%, year over year,” Amy Boek, Chief Marketing Officer for the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners this week. “Last year, at this time, was down 15%, so to see that ginormous growth is really incredible for us.”

During discussion among Commissioners, they said what they’re hearing is that what’s holding back tourism is there aren’t enough people to fill the open lodging jobs.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re seeing such incredible rates, is so many of our lodging properties are increasing their rates in order to try to curb occupancy, but people are still paying for it. So, they aren’t curbing that occupancy fee. It’s definitely helping in our bed tax collections.”

Local leaders are planning for the future of area tourism now, beginning public outreach for related projects on beach harmonization and tourism strategic planning.

The beach harmonization project is to develop, as the name indicates, a unified long-term vision and plan for the island’s seven beach parks — North Beach, Main Beach, Seaside Park, Peters Point, Burney Park, the Scott Road Access Point and the South Road Access.

The tourism strategy effort, called Nassau Next, is meant to provide a 10-year plan for job creation and economic expansion.

Details on the projects and ways to provide comment are online at

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Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_65128)
2 years ago

The new Disney World of North Florida. Indentured servants wanted to work room service. Sad article, actually – if one actually has to work for a living.

Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet (@guest_65129)
2 years ago

So congratulations to the Amelia Island Tourism Bureau, you finally have killed the Goose that laid the Golden Egg. There is no longer any reason to promote what was a great place to live, now gridlocked with traffic onto or off the island. Lines EVERYWHHERE. More studies as to planning than Heinze has pickles.

Some steps to maybe, just maybe restore some peace and quiet here…..(it’s not all about tax revenues folks)

  1. Have one weekend “event” per MONTH not two per weekend.
  2. Car show, shrimp fest, one or the other each year NOT both.
  3. STOP building “overflow” beach parking on every strip of sand off Fletcher the City can BS their way to remove grass, etc. under the ruse of “public safety”.
  4. Stop with the stupid and wasteful “improvement” projects dreamed up by yet another City Planning, Parks or “suggestion” committee that like weeds spring up this time of year….Like installing an irrigation system on Simmons Road tight to First Ave to water dead palm trees where there is nothing but sand and no “top” soil or the building of a $400,000.00 “park” on Simmons Road I bike past 2x a day and in 8 months have yet to see anyone there!
  5. Put real $$$ teeth into any builder/developer site plan that has protected trees that are then removed by “mistake”.
  6. Acknowledge that the #1 reason other than “special events” folks come here is for the beaches. That said in all your wisdom you allow $300,000.00 in your budget for beach walkover Maintenace/beaches vs. pure pork, like $1 million plus for yet another fire truck? Oh right, we now need another areal ladder truck what with 85 foot towers to be built.
  7. Reevaluate the budget process folks. It’s called a budget because you are to “manage” expenses vs. revenues. I’ve only been here 12 years and all I have seen is the never ending list of “more, more, more”. It’s going to get really interesting this time around when the real estate market caves and the Recession closes half of Center Street like it did back in 2008~~2010. Who ya go’in to call?

Oh, it’s 7:30am have to jump in my car so I can drive 6 miles to my job…’ll take an hour so I have to leave early, gotta pay my taxes like a good drone. Enjoy paradise folks!

Doug Mowery
Doug Mowery(@douglasm)
2 years ago

Occupancy is up only 9% YOY in the article……and last year was below 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels. So I’d wager the occupancy is still below 2019.

The point of the article, IMO, is that with occupancy up just a little, the revenues have increased dramatically! That means more money being collected in taxes that the citizens are not funding. I’m OK with that.

There are always cycles in the economy and in life. Dot com bust and falling real estate in the early 2000’s……Great Recession in 2008…..Pandemic 2020. Businesses come and go. Others later move in and improve things a bit more (remember what the Boat House property looked like?).

It is highly likely another recession looms…..I’m glad they are making the money while they can.

Tom Theobald
Tom Theobald (@guest_65131)
2 years ago

The problem is that the people to fill the jobs can no longer afford to live anywhere near the island. Between inflated real estate prices and ridiculous property taxes, the “locals” are priced off the island…

Chris Chaney
Chris Chaney (@guest_65132)
2 years ago

Growth made everybody on the island rich and now they want to complain about it lol.

Bruce Smyk
Bruce Smyk (@guest_65133)
2 years ago

Used to be a nice, quiet place.

Perry Anthony
Perry Anthony (@guest_65135)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Smyk

Yes Bruce, it was a nice quite place when I moved here to in 2005, but they’ve destroyed it in the last 10 years. The contractors, the developers, both the past & present county & city commissioners, the Chamber of Commerce, and last but nor least, the Amelia Island Tourist Bureau. I haven’t rode my Vespa scooter in over 3- years, because it’s way too dangerous. It used to take me 15-20 minutes to drive my car from my home in the downtown historic district to I-95, now it easily takes twice that, if your lucky, and that’s after they’ve added a lane to St. Rd. #200 which seems like it took forever. You can practically eat off the streets downtown (as this is the image the city tries to show tourist), but if you drive North on 8th Street after Centre Street, it’s a total DISGRACE with trash on the sides of the road everywhere and pieces of plywood that came off trucks from the port, small ttee branches and mulch from trucks from the mill, sidewalks that haven’t been cleaned for years. And after complaining to the present mayor, v. mayor, Dr. Ross, and Dale Martin, NOTHING IS DONE!!! I came here from S Florida in 2005 to RETIRE from all the TRAFFIC & HURRICANES, but they both quickly caught up with me here and now I plan to leave for Colorado again after this Summer.

John Goshco
John Goshco (@guest_65149)
2 years ago
Reply to  Perry Anthony

I lived in the Denver metro area during the “70s and ’80s. The entire state has grown a lot since then, and may not be the ideal place you desire. Still a beautiful state, but check it out before you make any permanent decisions.

Hugh10075 (@guest_65134)
2 years ago

It’s a vicious circle as the people who lived there way back when didn’t want the Ritz Carlton and all the new housing developments built either all expressing the same complaints. Now we have those who moved in the then new developments wanting to protect there Island from the same thing that they desired too. Soon Amelia Island will be nothing special as it will look like the rest of the are having housing developments built on every corner without a support system to service it.

Christine Harmon
Christine Harmon (@guest_65136)
2 years ago

The TDC is not alone in destroying the “goose that laid the golden egg”. It is doing what it was created to do by the government officials and business/citizen supporters who created it. They’ve realized their goals of reaping immense personal profits and county tax dollars through growth. The “innocents” with no voice are the one’s left to suffer – namely, the nonhuman inhabitants who have lost their homes and the marine life who are living in an increasingly, plastic contaminated ocean. To all beach goers: take your toys and your trash with you when you leave the beach!

Noah Kingsley
Noah Kingsley (@guest_65140)
2 years ago

Really interesting article. With so much growth it’s nice to have localized, small businesses that you can depend on. I just want to give a shoutout to Chem-Dry in Fernandina Beach if anyone is needing <a href=””>carpet cleaning</a> in the area, it’s a local, family-run business. I wish there was more of this, and less growth.

Last edited 2 years ago by Noah Kingsley