Northeast Florida Roundup
Fountain of youth: St. Augustine goes young in its quest to boost tourism
The St. Johns County Visitors & Convention Bureau is targeting millennial families to expand the St. Augustine area’s tourism economy. The VCB’s marketing plan for 2018 sees that group as the best opportunity for growth as “aging Matures and Boomers” indicate they are less likely to visit.
An annual survey by marketing firm MMGY found the percentage of millennial travelers interested in visiting the region in the next two years grew from 27% in 2013 to 47% in 2016.
The percentage slipped to 41% in this year’s survey, but that’s still significantly higher than the 28% of Boomers and 21% of Matures who expressed an interest.
Millennials are also likely to spend more on vacations. MMGY found the average millennial family budgeting $6,282 for travel, while the average American traveler expects to spend $4,815 on vacations this year.
A separate brand perception survey on the St. Augustine area by H2R Research found that 72% of potential visitors describe the city, founded in 1565, as “historic.” That highlights the need to promote other amenities to attract tourists who aren’t interested in the history, officials say.
VCB President Richard Goldman says those attractions include dining and the area’s beaches, as well as major concert acts at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre — recently ranked 11th in the world in ticket sales for amphitheaters in the first half of the year.
St. Johns County hopes to entice young families who may be headed for central Florida theme parks to take a slight detour for at least part of their trip, Goldman says. “There are ways to enjoy Florida beyond Kissimmee and Orlando.”
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