DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Your motorcycle-loving clients need to
accelerate their travel plans to find a hotel room here for Bike
Week, Feb. 26 to March 7.
Hotel space is at a premium, tourism officials said. It is
customary for hotels to impose minimum stays and higher rates
during this period.
Bike Week activities include motorcycle races at the Daytona
International Speedway, swap meets, rock and blues music, free
concerts, a flea market, the Harley-Davidson Parade, a pig roast,
an auction, a bike show and many other functions.
Bike Week in Daytona Beach, which runs longer than seven days,
and its activities are expected to draw up to 450,000 people,
helping the area fill its 13,000 rooms.
George Mirabal, president of the Daytona Beach-Halifax Area
Chamber of Commerce, said that Bike Week was taken over by the
chamber in 1988 after many complaints about rowdiness.
"Special events are, and will continue to be, important to us,
but we want to keep them in a proper light. We want to increase
substantially our family vacationers so that we're not so dependent
on special events," Mirabal said.
Daytona Beach is looking to fortify its family market in part
through more upscale development, he said. Several new
family-oriented projects are in the works along Daytona Beach. More
than $200 million in new visitor-oriented construction or
renovation is complete, under way or scheduled. Highlights
follow:The first attraction to be completed for Ocean Walk Village --
Adventure Landing Waterpark and Entertainment Center -- opened last
October. With what is said to be the first wet-dry super slide in
the state, the park has five acres that include 12 slides and a
three-level treehouse. Along the Daytona boardwalk, Ocean Walk
Resort will have 299 oceanfront suites. Doubling as a hotel and
residence, the resort will also have 175 condominium suites, 124
time-share units and a 5,000- square-foot conference center. It is
scheduled to open in spring 2000.The Adam's Mark Resort will add 310 rooms by 2000.Ocean Center, across from the Adam's Mark, will nearly double
its exhibit space to 146,000 square feet by late 2000.
In their search for new motorcycle-related tourism programs,
Mirabal and other Daytona chamber representatives traveled to
Sturgis, S.D. They went to experience the closest counterpart to
Daytona's Bike Week -- the Sturgis Rally.
According to a Sturgis source, an estimated 375,000 visitors
turned out in 1998 for Sturgis Rally. They filled up rooms at all
11 motels there as well as all rooms in Rapid City, 27 miles away,
and even at properties as far out as 70 miles, according to a
spokeswoman for Rally & Races in Sturgis, which coordinates the
Sturgis tourism officials also visit the Daytona Beach area
looking for suggestions on improving their event.
Daytona Beach-Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Phone: (904)
255-0981, Web: www.bikeweek.com. Daytona Beach Area CVB, Phone: (800)
854-1234, Web: www.daytona.com