Though Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach Shores are booming with families, Daytona Beach still struggles with some bad reputation, according to a study presented to the Beachside Redevelopment Committee.
Despite the growing number of families in Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach Shores, one of the hurdles Daytona Beach faces for beachside redevelopment is the lingering stigma of it being a college spring break destination, said Evelyn Fine, president of Fine Research and Marketing, during the beachside redevelopment committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 21.
This idea of reputation was something that stuck with Ormond Beach Commissioner Troy Kent, who serves on the committee.
“It’s something that we teach our children and it’s something that, to me, was the most important thing [Fine] shared,” Kent said.
Fine said Daytona Beach is in the same competitive market for tourism as Clearwater Beach, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale, which also has a lasting impression of being a prime destination for wild spring breakers.
Kent said the cities didn’t intend to create such a reputation, and after two decades, it’s still a problem.
One issue in Daytona Beach is that, while spring break is only a short time of the year, some people believe those are the kind of people the city gets year round, Fine said, citing a study her company conducted. She also mentioned some families are hesitant to vacation in Daytona Beach and its surrounding areas because of beach driving.
“There’s this big disconnect between people who come here and are very satisfied, and are comfortable with the cars on the beach because they’ve learned to accommodate it and learned to live with it, versus those people that have no vision of how their children and cars can coexist on a beach,” Fine said. “And that’s very real — same thing with spring break.”
She said there are ways to fight off the bad reputation Daytona Beach gets — one of which is to cater more to families, which has been working. She said in past focus groups conducted in Atlanta, people used to say that they would stay in hotels located in Ormond Beach or Daytona Beach Shores, but visit Daytona Beach and its boardwalk. As Daytona Beach works toward getting more family-friendly lodging, that has been changing.
“We are not what we once were, but we can be,” Fine said.
The committee also touched on the lack of code enforcement in Daytona Beach compared to Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach Shores, the history and future of Daytona’s Ocean Center and creating investment interest for redevelopment. The next beachside redevelopment committee meeting will be on Sept. 18 and will discuss the East International Speedway Boulevard and neighborhood stabilization.