Volusia County Poised for Continued Tourism Growth
The Volusia County Tourist Development Council held its first meeting of 2023 with the throaty roar of motorcycles in the air with the beginning of Bike Week. The influx of visitors for the annual event was a fitting backdrop for the board with the prospects of a strong year for tourism in the offing.
“I’m very optimistic,” said Lori Campbell-Baker, executive director of the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and a TDC member, after the meeting. “We’ve got hotel properties that are renovating and we’re seeing more and more beach access from the county, which helps us a lot.”
Campbell-Baker said the CVB recently launched a new campaign with the tagline “Beach On’ to attract visitors to the area. “It’s resonating very well,” she said.
At the meeting, TDC members heard updates from travel and tourism partners and the message was positive.
“The industry is doing very well,” said Bob Davis, president and CEO of the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County. “We’re all working together and looking forward to a fantastic 2023.”
Representing the Daytona Beach Area CVB, Andrew Booth said the agency has been busy hosting travel writers for the past two months, helping to get the word out about what Daytona Beach and Volusia County has to offer for vacationers and other travelers.
On the county’s west side, Georgia Turner, executive director of the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, said the new year started with a bang.
“We’ve had a really great year,” she said. “January is already up 33 % year-over-year.”
Turner said her organization is working with a variety of groups to bring visitors to the area, including hosting two national fishing tournaments in January. In addition, she said Bike Week events are expected to bring large crowds to the west side of the county as well.
At Daytona Beach International Airport. Airport manager Joanne Magley said Spring Break season is already underway and airlines are offering more flights to the facility. She said Delta has added a fifth daily flight in March and American Airlines has switched to larger aircraft for the Daytona Beach route.
Magley said traffic at the airport was up 1.6% in 2022 and is confident the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are fading.
“We’re happy to see negative numbers in the rear-view mirror,” Magley said.
The diminishing impact of the pandemic was something Campbell-Baker is seeing as well.
“We’re seeing a lot of pent-up demand,” she said. “I think people for various reasons weren’t able to travel for a while and I think we’ve been pretty successful in making Daytona Beach and the Volusia area one of interest. People are really seeing us. We’re seeing good results.”