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Date of Issue: March 19, 2008

Despite perception, tourism normal

Tourism for Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key this winter is at the same levels as last year, according to recent figures from the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 Tourism statistics from the CVB for February showed occupancy at accommodations surveyed on Longboat Key and the Island were at 68.3 percent for the month, the same figure reported for February 2007.

For the Island, however, occupancy was reported at 65.2 percent for the rooms surveyed, down slightly from the 70 percent occupancy figure the CVB reported last February.

That dip was offset by an increase in occupancy in the Manatee County portion of Longboat Key, where occupancy climbed from 66.1 percent for February 2007 to 74.5 percent for the same month this year.

 Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce executive director Mary Ann Brockman said she's had nothing but positive reports from her members regarding the winter season.

"It seems to be a very good year. I haven't had any complaints. We've had a lot of walk-ins looking for information and we had more than 2,500 e-mails last month from people looking for information about the Island and available accommodations. Let's keep our fingers crossed,” Brockman said.

 While Anna Maria Island tourism is holding steady, tourism to the CVB's entire reporting area fell slightly for the month -from 74.1 percent for last February to 71.3 percent for the same month this year.

 Anna Maria Island's slight downturn was compensated by an increase in the average daily rate for February 2008, rising from $152.34 in February 2007 to $155.95 for February 2008.

 Visitors to the CVB's mainland reporting area caught a break in February as the average daily rate dropped from $115.27 last year to $113.57 this year.

The CVB notes that just 26 percent of Anna Maria Island accommodations were surveyed for the monthly report.