The temperature wasn’t the only thing hot this summer in the Golden Isles.
So was tourism. While figures for July and August are still being compiled, if they’re anything like June and the months preceding it, ay, caramba!
Neither threat of storm, COVID-19 nor icky stuff from the shipwreck Golden Ray kept them away. They came, and they came in droves.
The number of out-of-towners staying a night or more in the Isles in June alone set the pace for the next two months.
“Although we do not have final numbers for July and August accommodation tax performance, we anticipate the upward trend to continue,” said Scott McQuade, director and CEO of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“As we analyze our lodging pace reports, we can see that July was 36% ahead in occupancy over last year and rate was nearly 20% ahead.”
And August? With the early start of the new school year, especially among public school systems in Georgia, not super fantastic but better than just OK.
“August did not perform quite as well (but) was tracking 13% ahead in occupancy and 20% ahead in average daily rate,” McQuade said.
“Overall we anticipate that the summer of 2021 will have raised the bar by over 20% ahead of all time records.”
What was just as remarkable about the summer tourism season, which kicked off Memorial Day weekend and ended at the conclusion of Labor Day weekend, is that the industry scored a record year with virtually one hand tied behind its back.
“I would be remiss if I did not mention that our industry accomplished this great feat by working together but also while seeing staffing reductions as great as 25 to 40% below normal staffing levels,” McQuade said.
The work of a few for so many has not gone unnoticed, he said.
“We certainly appreciate all the contributions and sacrifices that the hospitality workforce has made to serve our residents and visitors,” McQuade said.
In a newsletter summing up its immediate past fiscal year at the close of June, the visitors bureau noted the hospitality industry in the Golden Isles was continuing to see significant signs of economic recovery and breaking all previous lodging revenue records.
“Accommodation revenues for June achieved a record in Glynn County, reaching over $37 million in combined lodging revenue for the month,” according to the newsletter. “June 2021 lodging performance was 97% ahead of last year and 60% ahead of our previous record.”
It noted that the recently ended fiscal year “was again one for the record books; total lodging revenue for the year reached over $229 million.
“The fiscal year 2021 outperformed 2020 by 42% and outperformed our previous 2019 record year by 20%.”