Brevard County officials looking to lure tourists back after $1 billion loss during COVID-19 pandemic

First, spring break got clobbered by the coronavirus. Now, it looks like a second wave of the virus could interfere with summer tourism.

Officials and businesses are sending the message that Brevard County is "COVID-conscientious" though, especially as they try to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

It is estimated that Brevard County has already lost $1 billion, according to the Space Coast Tourism Office. They’re spending another $750,000 to attract summer vacationers, including both Florida residents and out-of-state folks in driving distance.  

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"So our protocols are still being followed by all of the hotels and restaurants...we really think that we’re still a good option for families, but of course we’re going to keep an eye on things very closely," Peter Cranis, the Head of the Tourism Office, said.

At the SeaScape Motel and Apartments, management is highlighting some things that are unique to mom-and-pop establishments.  For example, no elevators and no crowded lobby. 

 "We’re like a home away from home for people. You can use the beach and everybody here uses common sense. It’s not Daytona, it’s not Miami. We are a little more family-oriented and more of a subdued area." said Michael Steffan.

He said that a few of the motel's most reliable return guests have called and canceled their annual trips concerned about travel restrictions and the virus.

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But when those cancellations occur, rooms become available and people who are looking for a last-minute booking can find it. When they call, Steffan tells them about the new housekeeping procedures.

 "[Two months ago] we set our new guidelines to acclimate to social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfecting of every room... which we still do right now," Steffan said.

County leaders tell FOX 35 Orlando that they do not want massive crowds flocking to Space Coast, so the advertising efforts are measured for this unusual point in time. Finding the right balance of bringing in visitors but not in overwhelming numbers. 

"Normally we would be all hotel occupancy in the 90 percentile range, this summer, we’re expecting we will be down probably 30 or 40 percent," Cranis said.

For two-and-a-half months. Brevard County hotels would only give you a reservation if you were traveling for business or medical reasons.

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County officials say there are no plans to reinstate that policy at this point.


Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.