Jekyll SPLOST

People fish at the pier on Jekyll.

The Jekyll Island Authority’s strategic plan for 2023 maintains the ongoing focus of managing capacity on the island while ensuring quality experiences for residents and visitors.

The board of the JIA approved a proposed fiscal year 2023 strategic plan Tuesday that will be sent to the governor’s office.

The plan includes the JIA’s mission and vision statements as well as environmental challenges the authority faces.

“When they’re talking about environmental, they’re not talking about the physical or natural environment as much as they are in total,” said Jones Hooks, the authority’s executive director. “We’ve listed the various items there that we think will be influencing us as we move forward in the next year.”

The board was set to review the upcoming year’s strategic plan later this month, but the state moved the deadline forward this year.

“Usually we present the strategic plan to you in late August or September,” Hooks told the board. “This year, however, the state moved that deadline for receipt of strategic plans forward, and they have made it the first of July.”

The most prominent challenge for the JIA is capacity management, Hooks said.

“After 10 years of successful revitalization efforts, the JIA now faces a challenge of maintaining strong visitation while preventing overcapacity, promoting a unique visitor experience and maintaining the balance between the natural and developed elements of Jekyll Island,” he said.

An influx of visitors traveling to Jekyll over the past year is further evidence of the authority’s need to manage capacity, Hooks said.

“The JIA’s goal is to develop an elevated visitor experience to reduce participant numbers during events and to provide more immersive encounters with a strong focus on conservation preservation and education,” he said. “So when you say ‘reduce visitor numbers’ that sounds perhaps to some folks like where are they going?”

He said Jekyll has to strike a balance with the support of partners like hotels, restaurants and the convention center to ensure that visitors are booking rooms and going to restaurants and amenities while the island is providing visitors and residents with a good overall experience.

The strategic plan lays out objectives and plans for JIA.

“There are five umbrella items that...will actually be submitted to the state, and then as an appendix we will attach the other documents,” Hooks said.

The board also approved a proposed fiscal year 2023 strategic plan that will be sent to the governor’s office.

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