Sarasota’s New Tourism Initiatives Boost Potential for Vacation Homes


Sustained gains in the tourism sector in Sarasota and Bradenton bode well for investing in a vacation home which can double as a rental property in these two popular Southwest Florida travel destinations. Prospects remain bright as local tourism officials have taken several initiatives to maintain the record-breaking growth of tourism experienced in the region during the past three years.

Additional tourism promotion spending of close to $800,000 is being considered in Sarasota to further boost its stature as a summer destination this season. Hotels in Sarasota reported a 3.9% advance in occupancy rates in the 2013 summer despite this season being traditionally the slowest for visitors. For spring 2014, the total visitors in Sarasota County rose an estimated 6% while tourists spent 10% more than previous year’s season. In Manatee County, a 6% gain in visitor arrivals was reported for all of 2013, and a 3% gain is expected for 2014.

Upcoming blue-ribbon events

Sarasota’s New Tourism Initiatives Boost Potential for Vacation Homes

One of Sarasota’s top draws in summer 2014 is the modern pentathlon World Cup finals to be held in June at the Sarasota Polo Fields and Selby Aquatic Center. The latter will also be the venue for the synchronized swimming championships of the Sunshine State Games in June.

In Bradenton, visitor arrivals this year are expected to be spurred by over 170 sporting events at such venues as the IMG Academy and the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch. Increased focus has also been extended to the city’s arts and culture with the May’s Bradenton Arts Movieville Film Festival and the Bradenton Blues Festival in December among the showcases. Also set in Bradenton’s sports calendar are the Florida State League All-Star Game at McKechnie Field this June and the Bradenton Area Riverwalk Boat Regatta in February 2015.

Tourism assets beyond beaches

Moving further ahead, Sarasota and Bradenton tourism authorities are also pinning their hopes on the 2017 World Rowing Championships which is expected to draw almost 42,000 participants and spectators. The promoters expect that this event will generate economic impact worth $25 million.

Sarasota is banking on another key tourism asset—the BMX track at Tuttle Avenue and 17th Street. County approval is now pending for a $1.7 million renovation and expansion of this facility. Potential economic impact estimated at approximately $3.5 million is expected should this makeover push through.

Some Beachfront choices

Waterfront residences would be among the ideal choices for rental investors. These properties are already tied to the perennial Gulf Coast beach attractions in Sarasota and Bradenton and benefit as well from the continuing efforts to diversify tourism lures in the region. At Holmes Beach, west across from Bradenton, there’s a new MLS listing for a rental and vacation home with an annual earning potential of more than $50,000.