NAPLES, Fla. — There was an increase in visitors coming into Collier County in 2023 compared to last year, but new data suggests a decline in overall consumer spending.
According to data presented to the Tourism Development Council, October witnessed a 36% year-over-year increase in visitation to Collier County. However, the economic impact during the same time frame is approximately half a billion dollars less than in 2022.
The numbers also show a 10% decrease in direct spending year over year.
Bella Fidalgo, a business owner selling glasses in downtown Naples, says she has witnessed a shift in consumer habits.
"There's a lot more hesitancy from people," she told Fox 4.
Local hotels and vacation rentals are also experiencing an 11% decrease in occupancy compared to last year. Experts acknowledge that this decline is largely influenced by hurricane recovery efforts.
Last year numerous groups, including first responders, required accommodations when they came to assist in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Despite these current trends, experts point to positive trends in the broader economy.
Joseph St. Germain, president of Downs & St. Germain Research, delivered this message of optimism to the county, citing a recent market upswing.
"The recent uptick in the market and things of that nature - people are looking a little bit brighter economically," expressed Germain.