Now that we are nearing the end of 2015, it's always good to take time to reflect on our accomplishments and focus on what it takes to improve in 2016.
As we finish another record-breaking tourist season, it is important to know that tourism is a vital part of community development.
The visitor demographic's median age is 49, and includes an average household income of $110,000.
The 600,000 visitors who stayed in a short-term rental accommodation in 2015 spent an average of $150 per person per day while visiting our community.
These "new dollars" generate sales tax, support more than 22,000 hospitality jobs and keep our restaurants, attractions and shops financially healthy. Without this influx of "new dollars" from our visitors, we would not have the quality of life in our community that was a big reason we all made the decision to move to the Bradenton area.
Now that we have experienced more than four consecutive years of tourism growth, it is important for us to work together to partner, communicate, diversify and, more importantly, plan for future adversity. We all know that even when times are good, at some point, we will face an adverse situation.
I believe that preparing for future adversity entails consistent collaboration, planning and testing our roles now so we can have simple practices in place in order to work to limit an economic downturn.
This proactive mindset can help result in a quick recovery process so our businesses can continue to effectively serve our residents and visitors.
We plan on showcasing a crisis management guide to our industry in 2016 that we hope will help everyone focus on more than just our success.
Finally, I always try to remind myself that the big part of a successful community is our residents communicating consistently with stakeholders and our public officials.
If we can enhance our relationships, be unselfish and gain more trust in each other, I believe we can continue our success, and be confident we can weather any storm.
I want to wish all of you happy holidays. It's a pleasure to serve this beautiful community.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941.729.9177, ext. 222.