Navarre Beach breaking tourism records
NAVARRE BEACH, FL — For a fifth consecutive year, Navarre Beach likely will attract a record number of tourists this summer, if the off-season is any indication.
Between the shoulder months of October 2018 and April 2019, tourist development tax collections reached more than $1.5 million, more than double the amount during the same period in 2014-2015.
Deonna Houchins, who works in the gift shop at the Navarre Beach pier, said she notices more people coming to the four-mile stretch of barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico. The pier is the longest one in Florida, stretching 1,545 feet and towering 30 feet above the Gulf.
Navarre Beach tourism growth
The Tourist Development Tax Collections have steadily risen during the past five spring and fall shoulder seasons between October and April.
FY 2018-2019 $1,537,958
FY 2017-2018 $1,204,814
FY 2016-2017 $980,270
FY 2015-2016 $846,573
FY 2014-2015 $698,198
Source: Santa Rosa County https://www.santarosa.fl.gov/733/Bed-Tax-Collections-2018-2019
She said the combination of the area’s natural beauty, less-crowded beaches than Pensacola Beach or Destin, and Hurricane Michael’s destruction of Mexico Beach to the east in October, are among the factors causing numbers to skyrocket.
“This is a great place to be,” Houchins said. “If you came here before, you’ll want to come back.”
Last summer from May through September, tourist development tax collections reached almost $2.1 million. If projections hold, the bed taxes could climb more than $445,500 this summer and, for the first time, hit $4 million for the fiscal year.
Tourist Development Director Julie White said its advertisements and target markets changed throughout the Southeast this season.
“We’re not crowded and we have a natural shoreline,” White said on a picture-perfect sunny day. “More people find that appealing. Come kick back, chill and relax.”