Hoteliers and tourism officials know it’s hard to scare Floridians with tropical weather. For that reason, Manatee County tourism officials don’t expect a negative effect from Hurricane Hermine on Labor Day weekend travel to Manatee County.
“I don’t think it’s going to make too big a difference,” said Kelly Clark, director of communications for the Bradenton Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. “What’s sort of a good thing is this time period that we’re in is our drive market. It’s mostly Floridians who want a weekend to themselves. Floridians get Florida weather and know as quickly as it comes, it can go away.”
We won’t know the full impact until after the weekend.
Kelly Clark, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau director of communications
By Friday afternoon, heavy rains from Hurricane Hermine dissipated and the sun struggled to peek out from the storm’s leftover clouds. The Chiles Group restaurants, as they had done earlier in the week, were prepared to be open on Friday night for dinner if the streets in front of the restaurant weren’t still flooded. The Chiles Group’s Bradenton Beach restaurant The Beach House, 200 Gulf Dr. N., was open throughout Hurricane Hermine’s duration.
“We expect to be open the rest of the weekend,” Chiles Group COO Robert Baugh said of the Chiles Group’s other two restaurants, The Sandbar, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, and Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub, 760 Broadway St., Longboat Key. “We had no damage. We’re just cleaning up sand and stick debris.”
Kelly Ann Dixon, director of sales and marketing for the downtown Hampton Inn, said they’ve had calls inquiring about weather but no cancellations. In the past few days, guests checked out earlier than they planned to make sure they arrived home safely, she said, but the downtown hotel is still sold out for Labor Day weekend.
Shayna Barr, who works for Anna Maria Island Resorts, said they have had a few cancellations but not enough to empty out the resorts for Labor Day weekend.
In September last year, Floridians accounted for one-third of the 12,500 visitors, according to data provided by Research Data Services, Inc. The remaining 67 percent was split between other regions of the U.S., Canada, Europe and other international markets of opportunity.