Lee County attracted around 1.3million spring visitors in 2017, up 1.3% year-over-year, new data reveals.
Of those, 853,000 visitors stayed in paid accommodations, a rise of 4.1%, while 476,000 stayed with friends or relatives. That’s according to the Spring 2017 Visitor Profile and Occupancy Analysis for Lee County Tourist Development Council.
Spring 2017 visitors spent an estimated $728million during their stay in Lee County, up 3.3% from last spring’s $704.5million.
Eight out of 10 of all visitors stayed in paid accommodation in Lee County. Almost half of domestic paid accommodations visitors came from the Midwest (46%). The Northeast and South contributed 25% each and the remaining 4% came from the West.
Chicago (8%), Boston (7%), and New York (5%) were the leading domestic feeder markets in spring 2017.
Most foreign visitors came from Canada
Most foreign visitors came from Canada. They more than doubled their numbers to 63,101. Next came visitors from Germany, but their numbers dropped from 88,155 in 2016 to 61,599. Third were UK tourists, whose numbers also fell from 41,910 to 19,531.
Most visitors planned their trips well ahead. Three-quarters started talking about their Lee County trip three or more months in advance, and two-thirds chose the destination within that timeframe. Among those staying in paid accommodations, well over half made their lodging reservations within that time.
Use of the internet as a planning tool continues to be widespread among Lee County visitors, with 87% of spring visitors claiming to have visited one or more websites during the planning process. Visitors most often mention using airline websites (45%), followed by search engines (29%), hotel websites (24%), and booking websites (24%) when preparing for their trip.
The characteristics motivating the decision to visit Lee County in spring 2017 included:
- Warm weather (87%)
- Peaceful/relaxing (84%)
- White sandy beaches (80% – an increase from last spring’s 73%)
- A safe destination (77% – an increase from last spring’s 73%)
- Clean, unspoiled environment (74%).
Spring visitors stayed in Lee County for eight days on average. Most were repeat visitors (70%) who have taken an average of five trips to Lee County in the past five years.
The top activities enjoyed in Lee County during spring 2017 included: beaches (96% v 89% in 2016), dining out (76% v 72% in 2016), relaxing (71% v 74% in 2016), swimming, (65% v 60% in 2016) and shopping (60% v 55% in 2016).
When asked which attractions they were visiting in Lee County, beaches received the highest level of mentions (88%) – an increase from last spring (80%).
Nine in ten contributors say they are likely to visit Lee County again (90%), and more than half plan to return next year (57%). Many visitors say they will spread the word about their positive experiences, with 90% claiming to recommend Lee County over other areas in Florida.