Space Coast Tourism Report Probes Impact of Overnight Visitors

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For anyone curious about what our Space Coast tourists most like to do when they come to this region – as well as how much they generally spend here – the 2017 Visitation Report is for you.

The report unveils telling facts and figures culled from a new tourism database compiled by the Space Coast Office of Tourism, in partnership with the Florida Institute of Technology.  The database consists of information collected from an ongoing survey of domestic visitors who stayed overnight in a Space Coast hotel or other accommodation.

The overnight stay is the key factor used in classifying these survey respondents, who account for a significant chunk of the economic impact that tourism generates in this area.  In fact, this group of tourists even merits its own abbreviation.  They’re known as the DTAB market, which stands for the “domestic tourism, accommodations-based” market, and the folks in this category constitute a large, economically vital part of the overall tourism picture on the Space Coast.  In 2016-17, these overnighters spent roughly $2.1 billion when visiting Brevard County.

Space Coast Spring 2018 Tourism Report Cover

People who visit the Space Coast but stay with family or friends – or do not stay overnight – are not included in this survey.  The domestic DTAB study also does not take foreign residents into account.

The survey covers things visitors like to do when they’re here, as well as their satisfaction ratings for local attractions and infrastructure-related amenities, such as accessibility, safety, cleanliness, transportation, etc.  It also asks guests about the types of Space Coast marketing they recall, e.g., print ads, billboards, TV-radio, websites, social media, etc.

As for survey results to date, a few numbers really stick out.  For example (and not surprisingly), the primary reason given for visiting the Space Coast was overwhelmingly vacation/holiday, which accounted for 64.5% of visiting parties.  Another 11.2% came to visit family and friends, while 7.5% came for business and 7.0% for private occasions.

Among DTAB visitors polled, 91.9% said they would plan a return visit, with about 81% indicating that would happen “within the next 12 months” or less.  An estimated 91.4% indicated they would refer a friend to visit the Space Coast.

Here’s more of what the ongoing survey has uncovered so far about this important audience.  (With Port Canaveral such an obvious draw for a certain portion of visitors, some findings in the report have been further broken down by cruise and non-cruise travelers.  FYI, about 21% of those in the overall DTAB market embarked on a cruise while visiting the Space Coast.)

  • A typical DTAB party consists of 3.1 individuals (2.4 adults and 0.7 kids).
  • Expenditures per visit are about $1,488 per party, or $481 per person. Roughly two-thirds of that spending goes to lodging and restaurants, while slightly more than one quarter is spent on recreation and retail purchases.
  • Parties that come here to take a cruise stay in a Space Coast hotel/motel or other accommodation about one night less than parties that come here but do not take a cruise. Not unrelated, average expenditures are higher for non-cruise respondents, since they remain in the area longer.
  • About 71% of the accommodations rented are hotels or motels, with 60% of those located in Cocoa Beach/Port Canaveral and another 24% in Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville.
  • Activities/attractions with the highest participation rates among overnight visitors were beach activities (83%), Ron Jon Surf Shop/Cocoa Beach Surf Company (59%), Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier (48.5%), Historic Cocoa Village (46.3%) and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (46%).
  • Satisfaction ratings for Space Coast attractions are generally favorable, with average scores exceeding 4 points on a 5-point scale (with 5 being very satisfied) for 11 of the 12 activities listed in the survey. Those with the highest satisfaction rankings were Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (4.48), beach activities (4.42), The Cove at Port Canaveral (4.36), and Brevard Zoo/Treetop Trek (4.35).
  • As for basic amenities, the highest satisfaction ratings go to beach accessibility, personal safety and beach cleanliness.
  • More than 50% of respondents to date report a household income of at least $75,000 – substantially more than the $59,000 median U.S. household income reported for 2016. “The benefit of a high level of income is that it also generates relatively large spending by visiting parties,” the report noted.

The 2017 Visitation Report is featured in the “Spring 2018 Tourism Report” published by Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism.  To review the entire tourism publication, click here.  The estimates and figures in the Visitation Report are for trips made to the Space Coast in calendar year 2017.

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