Influx of college students catch city officials off guard

No break between Bike Week and spring break

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The number of college students and other beachgoers enjoying spring break in Daytona Beach was more than expected.

"It caught us off guard. We've had the last two weeks, larger crowds than we had in years," said Capt. Tammy Marris with the Beach Safety Patrol.

"It's actually the most popular resort this year," said Jade Jones, a visitor from Iowa.

Some beachgoers said alcohol is a big reason.

"In Panama City, the beach got dry so we decided to come here," said Jones.

But many people didn't know is that Daytona Beach is the same way.

"Alcohol's not allowed here either. We didn't know if they'd realize that and not come here or if they'd stay up there. We didn't know what to expect," Marris said.

That's because some city officials said there wasn't enough time between the end of Bike Week and the beginning of spring break to communicate and come up with a game plan.

"Are we overrun with college students. Definitely not," said Bob Davis, president and CEO of the Hotel Lodging and Hospitality Association.

Davis said they usually talk with the Beach Safety Patrol and law enforcement officials about how to handle the crowds and how many people they can expect but said they didn't have any time, this time around.

However, Davis said the city is certainly not complaining.

"As long as they behave themselves, we're fine with the activities," Davis said. "The hotels are doing increasingly much much better in the last couple of years, not just this year. We did see a bit more influx but nothing like it had been 15 or 20 years ago."

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