About 35 million visitors came to Florida between July and September of 2023. That’s according to the latest numbers from Visit Florida.
They equal a 1.6% increase in tourists compared to the same time last year.
A rainy day in Fernandina Beach on Thursday didn’t mean business slowed down for Olive Amelia. Laura Clem, manager of the store, said sometimes rainy weather helps them get more customers.
“If the rain is really heavy we’ll have a little bit of a lull but right now the rain actually helps us because obviously people are not at the beach and when they’re not at the beach they’re shopping,” Clem said.
Even with occasional rainy weather, the Sunshine State is seeing an increase in tourism. Clem said while they do have a loyal local customer base, they’re feeling the increase in tourists at their store on Center Street.
“More people knowing about us and bringing their friends and bringing their guests in, that you know has really helped to build our business,” Clem said.
As the holiday season approaches, Villa Villekula Toys co-owner, Theresa Duncan, said they’re preparing to see a big portion of their customers for the entire year.
“So we’re a toy store which means we do almost half of our revenue in the holidays so the holiday season is super important to us because it’s 50% of the whole year’s sales,” Duncan said.
Duncan said when local businesses like hers thrive, it allows them to give back to the community.
“The better that we do the more we can do in terms of sponsorships and donations and, like I told you, tonight we’re headed to an event at a local school and so when we’re more successful it allows us to spread that in our community,” she said.
Businesses in the area are preparing for a rush of customers next week with the Black Friday Pajama Party and Christmas Tree Lighting.