FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The fish kills brought on by red tide made 2018 a tough year for Southwest Florida's beach businesses. Now that it's cleared up, businesses in Fort Myers Beach are bouncing back, and expect to cash in even more as spring breakers flood into town over the next several weeks.
"Every day the beach gets busier and busier," said Melissa Schneider, marketing director for the Lani Kai Resort. "It's so great to see that the water quality has come back."
Last summer and fall, massive fish kills caused by the red tide made the air hard to breathe, and many would-be visitors canceled their reservations at the town's resorts.
"Of course the red tide and the algae blooms were not good," said Tracey Gore, the mayor of Fort Myers Beach. "You can see that people are coming back. You look up north and see all the snow. People want to be in this weather."
The Lani Kai - Southwest Florida's "spring break central" during March - is almost booked for the month.
"There are very few rooms remaining," Schneider said. "This is the center of all the spring break action."
She said the Lani Kai has plenty of events during spring break, including the return of the Cincinnati Firemen variety show March 10 through 15, and a concert by country-rock singer Beau Braswell on March 12.
Gore predicts that the business boom will last a bit longer than usual, since Easter doesn't happen until late April.