Heading South for the Winter

While those of us who live down in South Florida may not have noticed yet, it is winter. For those more northern inhabitants, as December rolls around, it’s time to head down south to Florida to hit the beach and forget for a moment that their driveway is going to be covered in ice very shortly.

Known to some as snowbirds, repeat seasonal visitors are heading down to Florida to enjoy the holidays at the beach, and perhaps most importantly, in the sun. People who live in northern states know that when winter rolls around, it can be cruel. The solution? Go to Florida for a few weeks, or for some, even months, to escape.

Fort Lauderdale restaurant owner, Debbie Skinner, says that every year she gets Bostonians who come to Florida for the winter and want to enjoy some New England dining without the New England weather. Some so-called snowbirds that flock to her restaurant, Kelly’s Landing, have been faithfully returning for 18 years and Skinner says, “We treat our snowbirds as well as we treat our regulars. I really wouldn’t want to do without them.” Snowbirds, Skinner claims, are a huge reason why her revenue doubles from January through March, and she’s certainly not the only one who attributes winter success to out-of-towners.

The troubled economy doesn’t seem to have hurt Skinner’s business too much in terms of snowbirds either. The traffic she sees from them has only tapered off slightly this year, she says, “We’re getting about 90 percent of the usual business.” Despite overall tourism down in South Florida from peak years, snowbirds seem to be picking up the slack.

Nicki Grossman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau notes that “Canadians make up the bulk of this season’s first wave of snowbirds, and their numbers are up compared to this time last year.” She attributes this influx to the Canadian dollar’s value against the U.S. dollar, and “right now the decision to travel is easy for Canadians.”

While locals may have some reservations about the winter-time overflow of snowbirds, it’s likely their presence will be more appreciated as they receive acknowledgment for their role in bringing business to South Florida.

Via: Sun Sentinel