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Collier County welcomed more than 263,000 visitors in January as the area inches toward peak tourism numbers for the year. The statistics for January 2024 were presented by Downs & St. Germain market research firm at a March 19 Tourism Development Council meeting.  

Although there were just 1.7% more visitors in January compared to the previous year, economic impact from tourism was up more than 12% year-over-year to more than $392 million. This is largely due to the average daily rate of hotels in the county spiking 17% to $392 per night, which is even higher than January 2022 numbers when hotels were charging an average of $372 per night due to a large influx of visitors post-COVID-19.  

“I think most of us can say we never really expected to see this after seeing those numbers and 2022,” Downs & St. Germain Project Director James Brendle said.  

Out of 208,000 out-of-state visitors, 42,000 were international tourists, a decrease from 49,000 in January 2023. The area hosted 57,000 visitors from the northeast part of the country, an increase compared to 47,000 in January 2023. Visitors from Florida made up 14% of the overnight visitor origin, an all-time low since 2020.  

Adrian Moses, general manager of Paradise Coast Sports Complex, presented the facility’s first quarter revenue report to Council, showing the most financially successful quarter since opening in 2020.  

In the first quarter of the 2023-24 fiscal year, which spans from October through December, the sports complex generated more than $960,000. With costs of goods and services landing at $373,000, the facility profited $586,000 for the county. Moses said the success could be attributed to the completion of four additional athletic fields, allowing the complex to host larger events.  

“It’s been a fantastic first quarter,” Moses said. “We’ve seen a lot of normalization of our work schedule, which is nice for the team, but also some really cool events, as well.”  

Looking into the second quarter, the facility is projected to generate $730,000, which combined with the first quarter will reach 70% of the expected annual revenue of the fiscal year.   

Sandra Rios, communications manager for the county’s tourism bureau, announced the department selected Pensacola International Airport Assistant Director for Strategy and Development Jay Tusa as its new tourism director. Previous director Paul Beirnes stepped down from the position in November after a two-year tenure.  

“[Tusa] comes to us with over 25 years of experience in the travel industry, bringing a wealth of experience to us in his new role,” Rios said. “He will lead the destination management, strategic planning and stakeholder engagement initiatives to further enhance the region’s tourism offerings. His proven ability to drive economic growth, destination development and infrastructure improvement projects will enhance the visitor experience, it will also guide Collier County through its next phase of development.”  

Tusa begins his new role March 25.

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