Omni Amelia Island upgrades make destination more competitive

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. - Massive upgrades have recently been completed at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, where owners have invested $85 million to make Amelia Island a more competitive destination.

"We've added 155 new rooms, inclusive of 26 new suites, 14,000-foot pool deck, infinity pools, hot tubs," said general manager Paul Eckert.

Eckert said the plantation expects to make $100 million in annual revenues by 2015. That's more than double the annual revenues it made in 2011. The whole idea is to appeal to a broader audience.

"Amelia Island is in competition with other islands in the southeast coast, so as a community, we are trying to elevate this destination and do our part," Eckert said.

It's an economic impact that won't only be felt at the 404-room resort, but also just down the road at restaurants like the Parkway Grille. They're anxiously awaiting the influx of tourists.

"It's already helped us with the construction workers," said Michelle Pratt, who works at Parkway Grille. "They got more rooms. They got more people to come and see us."

Tourists expect the improved golf courses and pristine coastline to attract visitors from across the country.

"I think it will have a big impact on the area," tourist Wayne Baker said. "It's a beautiful location. The facilities are nice. The beaches are lovely."

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