Bradenton tourism up for 3rd year

Bradenton, Florida -- Tucked between St. Petersburg and Sarasota in the Bradenton area is a quiet riverfront community that is awakening as a vacation destination with 2.8 million visitors last year and growing.

Tourism officials say the area's newfound popularity is part of a three-year trend with more than a $900 million economic impact.

Massachusetts residents Nancy and Dave Carmen visit Bradenton every spring.

"It's on the river and you have excellent museums," says Nancy.

"I like the laid-back atmosphere," adds Dave.

The Carmens are not alone.

"People find the area very rewarding -- a detoxifying environment," says Debbie Meihls, executive manager for the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Meihls says this is the third straight record-breaking tourism season.

Tourism figures show since 2011 the number of visitors is up 5.5%, international visitors jumped 30% and the total economic impact increased by 18.9%. Also, tourism related jobs spiked 12%

"I truly believe in the City of Bradenton," says Denise Tischida, co-owner of Motorworks Brewery.

Tischida opened Motorworks Brewery, a full production 27,000 square-foot brewery, earlier this year on Ninth Street.

"This is a marvelous city," she says.

Tourism officials say the downtown revitalization is paying off. The Riverwalk, along the Manatee River, has attracted the state's first F2 boat races next year. There's a new focus on the arts with the Da Vinci Exhibit. The city's first Film Festival is this week at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, plus a growing sports tourism, are all attracting visitors.

While larger cities have sports, the beaches, shopping, and the arts, some say Bradenton offers something they don't have that small town old-Florida feel.

"Everybody is relaxed, enjoying every day of their life. Bradenton offers that," Nancy Carmen says.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment