ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The annual Nights of Lights in downtown St. Augustine is bringing in new visitors and boosting business to the local economy.
With its warm glows, the annual spectacle has a way of bringing "wows" –in more ways than one- to the nation's oldest city.
When Nights of Lights first started, merchants and restaurants in the downtown area had very little business in December and January, reported the Visitors and Convention Bureau. The famed tradition has played a big role in turning that around, encouraging people to stay longer and spend more money.
According to the Visitors and Convention Bureau:
- Since 2010, the generated revenue has grown each year
- Between 2010 and 2018, occupancy for December and January across St. Johns County has increased 45%
- The average daily rate for staying overnight has increased 45% to $131.06
- Average room sales have gone up 52%
Visitors like Alyssa Lucania and her family stopped by Old City Gifts before heading up north, and were impressed by the hidden treasures they found in St. Augustine.
The Lucanias enjoy all parts of the city. Not just the shopping.
“Eating, drinking, gifts, seeing the sights, going to the fort,” Bruce Lucania said.
Nights of Lights traditionally lasts through Jan. 31. This year’s event will be extended to Sunday, Feb. 3.