tourists

Santa Rosa tourists here for friends, stay for events

Santa Rosa tourists here for friends, stay for events

County Commissioners and Tourist Development Council (TDC) members gained insight into the impact of tourism in the county last week as the University of West Florida Haas Center unveiled the Tourism Market Economic Impact Study. This yearlong effort examined many aspects of tourism including spending by visitors, where visitors were coming from and how this […]

Highway 98: Another alternative

Highway 98: Another alternative

Navarre has a traffic problem, and its name is U.S. Highway 98. For years politicians, planners and locals have debated how best to solve the problem. Read the full article in the Mar. 15 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options. Sign up to receive the online edition of Navarre Press for […]

Snowbirds keep tourism humming despite chill

Snowbirds keep tourism humming despite chill

While freezing temperatures have largely driven off the usual tourists, Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Director Julie Morgan said she expects to see great bed tax returns for the winter months. That is thanks to the annual influx of snowbirds, wintertime tourists who are typically in their senior years. Morgan said most of them hail […]

Tourism panel balks at loan for park redo

Tourism panel balks at loan for park redo

County tourism leaders were hesitant Monday to back plans to pay for nearly $2 million in Navarre Park improvements through more than doubling the loan on the Navarre Beach Visitors Center. Tourist Development Committee (TDC) members in attendance all spoke favorably of the proposal to make some improvements to the park despite negative comments about […]

Double red flags fail to deter swimmers

Double red flags fail to deter swimmers

Though Tropical Storm Cindy had double red flags flying over Navarre Beach for most of last week, visitors were lining the beaches to catch some sun between bouts of rain. Double red flags mean the waters are closed. While the waters had receded some, the surf was still too rough to swim said Navarre Beach […]

Does spring break boost beach profits?

Does spring break boost beach profits?

Do spring break crowds translate to higher bed tax collections? The simple answer is yes … and no. “We are busy. The lobby is full every time I am here,” remarked Liz Horton of Wyndham by Resort Quest, who chairs the Tourism Development Committee Board. Read the full article in the March 30 issue of […]

On the Turtle Trail for conservation, education

On the Turtle Trail for conservation, education

County tourism staff have begun working with the Santa Rosa Arts and Culture Foundation (SRACF) on the creation of a third, roughly $5,000, 5-foot-tall, sea turtle statue to be added to the county’s Turtle Trail, a project similar to the Pelican Trail in Pensacola. Read the full article in the Feb. 9 issue of Navarre […]

Beachfront Springhill Suites nears completion

Beachfront Springhill Suites nears completion

Finishing touches are underway at the Springhill Suites by Marriott on Navarre Beach as construction winds to a close. Ben Harris is the project manager with Alabama-based general contractor Stewart Contracting Company, Inc. Harris said though it still does not look like much from the outside, the next two weeks will bring quite the transformation. […]

Amtrak passenger service in the works

Amtrak passenger service in the works

Amtrak passenger service is becoming a reality again along the Gulf Coast as support for the idea picks up steam.  Santa Rosa County is among the latest counties to provide a resolution of support to bring the popular rail service back to the region, along with Pensacola and Crestview. “It’s probably about two to three […]

Tourists and locals alike responsible for beach litter

Tourists and locals alike responsible for beach litter

Approximately 2,000 pounds of garbage were collected off Navarre Beach this year by volunteers each month, and despite tourist season coming to an end the garbage bag loads keep coming. Those collecting that garbage and reporting the numbers are the volunteers behind the monthly Trash Bash, a spinoff of the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation […]

Lifeguards close the books on a busy beach season

Lifeguards close the books on a busy beach season

Navarre Beach’s Lifeguard season finished up Sunday, Oct. 30, to their highest numbers in recent history according reports by the Navarre Beach Utility that manages the lifeguards. Between March 13 and Oct. 16, the beach saw 75,818 visitors in 2016 up 18,870 visitors from last year. That’s a 33 percent increase. Read the full article […]

Lack of accommodation stay info frustrates tourism officials

Lack of accommodation stay info frustrates tourism officials

Most hotel managers balk at sharing details of their occupancy rates without assurance those figures won’t be made available to competitors, yet Santa Rosa tourism officials are about to mount a new effort to obtain that data. The month-to-month figures are considered important in the planning of leisure industry promotions, but the Santa Rosa County […]

New hotel to jump-start bed-tax growth

New hotel to jump-start bed-tax growth

Although growth in Santa Rosa’s tourist tax collections slowed this summer compared to last year, leisure industry leaders say the new Springhill Suites on Navarre Beach will provide a needed boost. The 161-room hotel is projected to add $250,000 to the county’s 2017-2018 revenue from bed taxes – the 5 percent fees on hotel bills […]

Busy Labor Day weekend despite weather

Busy Labor Day weekend despite weather

Despite dwindling attendance along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Hermine, Navarre Beach bed-tax collectors reported maxed out occupancy for the three-day Labor Day weekend. As CNBC warned travelers to rethink their Florida travel plans, hotels in Panama City Beach reported high cancellations due to the storm and discounted rates to recapture those […]

New sales tax boosts 2017 county budget

New sales tax boosts 2017 county budget

Santa Rosa County will be $5.1 million richer in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, but not at the expense of property owners. That’s because of the half-penny sales tax to pay for various infrastructure improvements that was approved by county voters on Aug. 30. Although the new tax is expected to bring in about […]

Pier managers tighten receipt practices

Pier managers tighten receipt practices

Visitors to Navarre Beach Pier are being pressed to accept receipts this week in the wake of a request from county commissioners for better tracking of attendance. “We’re trying to get everyone to take a receipt even if they say they don’t want one,” said Stephanie Maddox, co-owner of Coastal Concessions. Commissioners requested the more […]

Chair rentals cause visitor complaints

Chair rentals cause visitor complaints

The summer tourist season is in full swing on Navarre Beach, and west of the fishing pier, lines of bright blue and green umbrellas once again dot the waterline courtesy of rental companies. These wooden, collapsible chairs with matching sun shades offer visitors relief from carrying their belongings to the water. Pay a fee, and […]

Navarre Beach lifeguards, there to keep you safe

Navarre Beach lifeguards, there to keep you safe

According to lead guard Charles Marek, the 2016 beach renourishment has had a significant impact to this year’s beach visitors. “We have had many more people on the beach this year,” Marek said. “They have heard about the renourishment and want to see for themselves.” This is Marek’s fourth year as a lifeguard. During the […]

Rescues on the rise, again

Rescues on the rise, again

Navarre Beach lifeguards have added two new guards after a record 94 rescues last year in anticipation of another high-traffic beach season. This season has already seen 52 water rescues between March 1 and June 9. To put that in perspective, the season totals for 2012-2014 average less than 44 rescues between March 1 and […]

Grant money brings big entertainment to Santa Rosa for 2016-17

Grant money brings big entertainment to Santa Rosa for 2016-17

The Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Committee (TDC) approved $61,225 in grants Tuesday, June 7 to fund 18 events such as festivals, 5Ks, concerts, parades and even butterfly tagging in the county. The funds are part of the bed-tax budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal years. Bed taxes are collected on visitors to the county who […]

Tough Mudder fails to boost bed taxes

Tough Mudder fails to boost bed taxes

Disappointing bed-tax revenue in April, when Tough Mudder Inc.’s two-day event near Milton was expected to give the Santa Rosa County numbers a bump, is prompting tourism industry leaders to reconsider the financial incentives promised to the New York company. County commissioners voted last November to pay Tough Mudder $110,000, including $80,000 from bed taxes, […]

Sea lice reports fail to deter beach visitors

Sea lice reports fail to deter beach visitors

Visitors packed the Navarre Beach Gulf shore last week despite reports of sea lice. The Navarre Beach Lifeguards flew the purple flag to warn bathers of the critters and the rash they can cause. Sea lice are actually not lice at all. They are tiny, pepper-like jellyfish larvae that float in clouds in the Gulf […]

FWC offers free fishing weekends

FWC offers free fishing weekends

Florida Gov.  Rick Scott announced two license-free fishing weekends in June. The first took place this past weekend for saltwater fishing and the second, a freshwater fishing weekend, is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday for Florida residents and visitors. “Florida is the fishing capital of the world,” Scott said in a press release. “As […]

Tropical Storm Colin puts break on beach dredging

Tropical Storm Colin puts break on beach dredging

Dredging for the Navarre Beach nourishment project came to a halt Monday night, June 6 as Tropical Storm Colin caused rough waters out in the Gulf of Mexico. The project’s two dredges had to stop work and seek shelter in Pensacola Bay. On shore, the storm has caused some flooding on the lower beach berm. […]

Much more Navarre Beach to enjoy

Much more Navarre Beach to enjoy

Keeping a protective watch for nesting sea turtles and birds, Weeks Marine Inc. is replenishing Navarre Beach with more than one million cubic yards of dredged sand in hopes of finishing by the holiday weekend of July Fourth. The contractor has already placed about 150,000 cubic yards of sand in a project that started in […]

Destin visitors robbed at gunpoint

Destin visitors robbed at gunpoint

Visitors trying to buy marijuana robbed A Cincinnati Ohio couple vacationing in Destin was robbed at gunpoint Thursday night after they tried to buy drugs from a man near Fort Walton Beach. The 30-year old male says his girlfriend was driving him around as he tried to find $80 worth of marijuana to purchase. An […]

Lifeguards return for the season

Lifeguards return for the season

March marks the return of the spring breakers along with the only thing that keeps them from hurting themselves: Navarre Beach Lifeguards. “We have hired eight guards this season and expect to hire another six,” Sonja Lusk of the Navarre Beach Water Department said. “The guards will be on duty seven days a week from […]

Escambia County enacts new open container ordinance

Escambia County enacts new open container ordinance

Escambia County has adopted a new ordinance effective Mar. 1 restricting open containers in public areas of the commercial district of Pensacola Beach. Residents and visitors can no longer consume or possess any alcoholic beverages in an open container in the public areas within the commercial district like sidewalks, boardwalks, roads and parking lots. Read […]

Navarre Beach renewal in line behind Sarasota

Navarre Beach renewal in line behind Sarasota

When Weeks Marine Inc. postponed its scheduled restoration of Pensacola Beach last week it seemed to signal that the company could start dredging and filling on Navarre Beach as planned on or about April 1. That’s because some of the same equipment and crew members used in filling in Pensacola Beach with sand dredged from […]

Call for Navarre Fun Fest poster design

Call for Navarre Fun Fest poster design

The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has put out the call for artists to design the official poster for the 32nd Anniversary of the Navarre Fun Fest on Navarre Beach. The winning artist will receive a $300 cash award and a complimentary high-visibility artist booth at the event on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Read […]