The Space Coast economy has just seen a record $9.2 million in tourism dollars from March to July 2021
This is despite losing about 20% of the funds because the cruise ship industry was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic
The previous record of $8 million was set in 2019
But visitors have still been coming, and officials say it shows the pent up demand for people to get out and open their pocketbooks.
For Amy Elkavich, who runs Hello Again Books in Cocoa Village, said the page is always turning in her store, wher 80% of the books are used.
Cruising accounts for 20% of local tourism dollars.
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Some call the tourism numbers amazing, especially considering the cruise industry was shut down for months by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When tourists come in, we welcome them, we are just so happy to have them here,” she said, noting that more than half of her customers are from out of town.
“Here on Brevard Avenue in the heart of Cocoa Village, we’ve really been able to benefit from the tourism that’s taken place,” Elkavich said.
And it’s not just her shop, the entire Space Coast has benefited — the area just saw a record $9.2 million in tourism money from March to July 2021. That number beats the previous high of $8 million set back in 2019.
The record was set even without the 20% usually seen when cruising is up and running. “I think the overnight stays, people really wanted to get away and not just do a day trip,” said Peter Cranis, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism.
He said the pandemic and it’s shutdowns played a part in the rebound. “It was the chance for people to have somewhat of a normal vacation,” he said. “And the thing that’s great about the Space Coast is we had a lot of launches going on, we have great beaches, great outdoor experiences, and I think it’s exactly what families were looking for.”
If things stay on the current track, officials with the Space Coast Office of Tourism say the area will break the revenue record of more than $16 million set in 2019. “We were surprised that the customers just kept coming,” Elkavich said. “There was a real need for books, for shopping and community.