Southwest Florida tourism is touting one of it’s most successful seasons to date. Still, some business owners fear the season won’t stretch due to the unseasonably warm weather across the country.
WINK News reported that Sanibel Island’s Kona Kai Motel & Cottages started off the season stronger than ever.
“January and February were complete sell-outs. I did at least 30-40% more than last year,” Kona Kai owner Brenda Cosentino said Tuesday.
But as unseasonably warm temperatures blanket much of the country, the phone isn’t ringing quite as much this month. Online inquiries for the motel are down dramatically, causing management to roll out spring specials early.
“I’m a bit anxious about April, because it’s spring up north. No matter how much I pray for blizzards for Minnesota, Chicago, and New York, they’re not coming!” Cosentino laughed.
Still, some snowbirds say they’re staying put. Wisconsin-native Bob Dineen is parked at Sanibel’s Periwinkle Campground. Despite the warmer weather back home, he and friends aren’t cutting their stay short.
“I’ve got friends at home calling me and saying it’s 78, 80 degrees. They’ve been saying that for the last month! Why am I in Florida? My only response is because we have palm trees in Florida,” Dineen chuckled.
According to Naplesnew.com, many Southwest Florida RV parks and resorts are reporting warm winter in the North had little effect on their businesses.
“Year to year, most of our clients leave the last two or three weeks in April, and it hasn’t been any different this year,” said Diane Eager, owner of Cottage to Castle, a Naples home watch services company. “In fact, one of the services we provide is an airport drop-off or pick-up, and during those last few weeks in April we are going to be very busy.”
Naples RV park resorts such as Neapolitan Cove and Harmony Shores reported that “a few” northerners left early, but that overall, business was up.
“Some of our people have left earlier than usual, but not very many,” said Wanda Dearth, manager of Neapolitan Cove RV Resort. “I think our occupancy is still even higher than last year. We were booked up the entire time.”