Daytona Beach tourism leaders look to rebrand city for visitors

Officials aim to turn city into high-end destination

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Tourism officials in Daytona Beach are looking to move away from its rowdy “spring break” destination and turn the city into a more high-end destination and they know it’s going to take more than just advertisement dollars to make the change.

“The brand of any destination, of any business, is what people say about you,” said Lori Campbell Baker, executive director of the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

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Baker said cleaning up the brand is their top priority.

“We’re going to be even more communicative with the government leaders and city and municipal staffs about what we’re hearing from our visitors,” she said.

In a recent meeting, the bureau and other tourism officials in the area discussed moving away from the “spring break” reputation, getting government leaders to clean up the main beachside gateways, like International Speedway Boulevard, and getting even more developers to move in to fix up some of the dilapidated buildings and empty lots.

The bureau, along with a county ad board, has hired a consultant to create a plan of attack.

“We just got off eight record months of income with bed tax revenue,” Campbell Baker said.

Newer, high-end hotels have recently moved in and others, like The Plaza, are putting millions into renovations right now.

“We need bigger, better entertainment. We need finer boutique shops,” said Bob Davis, president of the Lodging and Hospitality Association of Volusia County.

Davis has been pushing for this change. He said they need more amenities to keep up, for both visitors and residents.

‘We’re getting a higher element of guests with expendable income that want a better area in which to vacation. Nobody has got a beach like we do,” he said.

The board is currently putting together timelines and data for investors. Final approval for the plan will be in March.

About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.