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Date of Issue: March 03, 2010

Island tourism surged in January

Anna Maria Island tourism climbed more than 15 percent in January, compared with the same month in 2009.

Occupancy of Island accommodations for January 2010 hit 51 percent, compared with 44.2 percent in January 2009, a 15.4 percent jump, according to the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s latest report.

That marked the fifth straight month that occupancy of Island accommodation units increased from the same month the previous year.

Occupancy of all units in the BACVB area for January 2010, however, was down slightly. Overall occupancy was reported at 53.6 percent against 54.3 percent for January 2009.

The slight drop could be attributed to occupancy on Longboat Key, which fell from 63.9 percent in January 2009 to 49.5 percent for January 2010, a 22.5 percent decrease.

Mainland occupancy was at 59.5 percent for January 2010, down 2.6 percent against occupancy for January 2009.

The 51 percent occupancy-rate marks the third consecutive year that occupancy of Island accommodation units in January has increased. From 30.4 percent occupancy in January 2007, Island occupancy has climbed 67 percent to its current 51 percent January 2010 level.

While Island tourism was increasing in January, the average daily rate showed only a slight rise from the rate reported in January 2009.

The BACVB reported the Island’s January 2010 average daily rate was $142.65, a .9 percent increase from the January 2009 average daily rate of $141.58.

Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman confirmed that tourism to the Island has been on the upswing.

“We were extremely busy in January, and I haven’t had any member complain it’s been slow,” Brockman said.

 Indeed. The chamber reported that in January there were 3,672 walk-ins to the chamber office on Gulf Drive, along with 1,024 telephone calls in January from people requesting information about the Island.

 The telephone calls were in addition to people who had already made a reservation for an Island vacation and needed an information packet.

 “We had 1,160 people in the United States and 42 from Canada that told us they had reservations on the Island this season and needed a guide and information booklet. That kept us pretty busy,” she said.