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Date of Issue: April 28, 2010

Tourism posted gain in March

Tourism on Anna Maria Island showed a 5 percent gain in March compared with the same month last year, according to figures just released by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Occupancy of surveyed Island accommodation units was 86.9 percent in March 2010 compared with 82.7 percent for March 2009.

The figures for March this year were slightly behind the 88.9 percent occupancy reported in March 2008, but ahead of the 84.7 percent for March 2007.

But the Island’s tourist season may have been even better than the figures show.

Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman said the BACVB only reports on 28 percent of Island accommodation units and does not track vacation-rental homes.

Property managers on the Island surveyed in February and March reported near 100 percent occupancy for their units, and many tourism-based businesses said March of this year was the best season in the past decade.

Accommodation units do pay the tourism tax, and the $847,600 collected by the BACVB through March 2010 was 8.5 percent ahead of the $780,685 collected for the same reporting period at this time last year.

At the same time, Island accommodation owners and managers were giving visitors “value for dollar,” said David Teitelbaum of the Tradewinds, Tortuga Club and SeaSide Resort.

The average daily rate on Anna Maria Island for March 2010 was $177.96, down 2.9 percent from the $183.38 average in March 2009. March is the most active month for Island tourism and the highest daily-rate average of any month occurs in March.

According to the BACVB, the Bradenton area had 152,100 visitors between January and March 2010, a 3.8 percent increase from the same three months in 2009, when 146,500 visitors were recorded.