Although September is supposed to be Anna Maria Island’s slowest month for visitors, the occupancy figures reported by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for last month show a 16.5 percent gain from September 2009.
The increase put occupancy of Island accommodations at 45.9 percent, up 16.5 percent from the 39.4 percent reported for September last year. The 45.9 percent is just 3.8 percent below the August 2010 occupancy level of 49.7 percent.
Longboat Key also gained visitors, with occupancy climbing from 30.8 percent in September 2009 to 33.7 percent for this September, a 9.4 percent increase.
Overall occupancy of all accommodations in the BACVB area for September 2010 was 42.5 percent, up 6 percent from the 40.1 percent reported for the same month last year.
While occupancy of Island accommodations soared compared to last September, mainland occupancy fell in the comparison from 46.7 percent to 43.7 percent, a 6.4 percent drop.
At the same time occupancy was increasing on the Island, the average daily rate was down, according to the BACVB figures.
The ADR on the Island for September 2010 was $131.15, a decline of 5.9 percent from the ADR of $139.38 recorded for September 2009.
For the entire BACVB area, the ADR dropped $4.32.
Last September, the ADR for the Bradenton area was $119.15, while this September, the ADR was $114.83, the BACVB reported.
The marked increase in Island tourism for September shows the BACVB marketing campaign of targeting Florida residents during the slower months of August, September and October is working, said BACVB marketing director Deb Meihls.
Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman said many members were “thrilled” to have business during a month that is traditionally the slowest of the year for Island tourism.
“I think many of us have been pleasantly surprised,” she said.
“I know it’s been a boon for a number of accommodations and retail shops.”