JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It seems like spring break is a long way off, but for people at the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau, that time of year is always on their minds.
The Bureau is already marketing Jacksonville to potential spring break vacationers, which will help boost our local economy.
The focus of the marketing efforts this year is on Atlanta families who have time to vacation over spring break.
It might be a a long time away, but recent weather already feels like spring, another aspect that helps market Jacksonville as a unique destination.
It's no Panama City Beach or Daytona Beach, where thousands of college students descend to party for spring break, but Jacksonville is a spot families and adult couples can come to get away and explore.
"Come experience a different side of Florida," director of marketing of Visit Jacksonville Katie Kurycki said. "Stop before you trip to Orlando. Come see the natural side. Be out kayaking, be at the beaches. Our beaches will be beautiful. I mean its 80 degrees outside. You could be at the beach today."
Katie Kurycki hopes a new commercial set to air nationwide on The Travel Channel will help draw families to The River City.
"We focus a lot on the five to six hour drive market for us. We know that families don't have enough money sometimes to fly the whole family to Florida but could take the drive to Jacksonville and stay in our affordable hotels," Kurycki said. "We probably have the most affordable destination in the state of Florida."
Whether it's advertising our east coast beaches, attractions like the zoo and festivals downtown, Visit Jacksonville has tried for several years to grow into a more popular spring break destination. recognizing that chance to still grow.. they're trying to stick with the family appeal.
"We just haven't been able to get a ton of family visitation other than around some major beach events in the summer. So we're trying to really grow that market," Kurycki said. "We know our key market right now are that 20 and 30 something market, which a lot of Florida isn't seeing, so it's great for us."
Jacksonville really has two big spring seasons. At the beach the busy season kicks off in March and lasts through Labor Day.
Downtown the tourism revs up at the end of January with the Gator Bowl and stays strong throughout the spring with convention and meeting business.
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