VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Ocean Court Motel is usually buzzing with guests this time of year, especially with guests from Canada.
“During the winter, we’re probably 50 percent Canadian,” Motel owner Andrew Hands said.
Hands has relied on friends from the north since he first opened his motel in 1991. He said they stay in his motel for up to four months at a time but as of right now, there are zero Canadians visiting. His only couple left on Sunday.
“It’s a big chunk of your winter revenue. To lose that, it’s going to be a big hit,” Hands said.
He said the pandemic forced Canadians to cancel their trips due to a closed border or having to quarantine once they fly back home. Those cancelations easily cost Hands a couple hundred thousand dollars that he needs to continue the business.
“It stops you from doing a lot of remodeling. You want to keep your staff, keep them paid. You want to keep them in a job. That’s where the PPP really helped. Of course, you got business loans which you have to pay back,” said Hands.
News 6 spoke with Bob Davis, President, and CEO of Lodging and Hospitality.
“Canadian tourism in the fall and in winter seasons was humongous for Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach and Volusia County. They were the heart and soul of what we did and how we got through the winter months,” Davis said.
Davis said the county has made some money this year but compared to last year, it doesn’t mean much.
“The whole month of September was full of hurricanes which we didn’t get but was coming towards us, so nobody came. So yes, we did better. Better is better than less but unfortunately what we were competing against last year was nil.”
Hands, along with some other hotels along A1A are now working hard to attract local and out of state tourists to spend their time and money at the World’s Most Famous Beach.
“Come and stay at Ocean Court. We need you,” Hands said.