Amelia Island Florida Shrimp Boat Charters

Fernandina, in my opinion should be noted for it's right to the brand of the birth place of the modern shrimping industry. Always keeping the focus on the shrimping industry and what we can offer.

boiled-shrimpWhen folks who don’t live here think of Florida it’s usually in the sense of taking a vacation. Come to Florida and enjoy the sights, sounds and theme parks. I can’t think of any geographic area of Florida that hasn’t fought for its rightful share of the tourist dollar. From Amelia Island to Key West both on the Gulf and Atlantic coast line, not to mention all the attractions in between.

So what is happening to our tourist dollars and why are they drying up? The recession has put the brakes on the tourist movement; it’s no longer as strong as it once was. People are doing more ‘stay cations”, vacationing at home, (a contradiction in terms) however when a family has a reduced budget to work with blended with the fear of tomorrow and future paychecks, vacations seem to be at the bottom of the list of important issues.

What can a community do to increase tourist dollars? I would suggest to those in charge of attracting tourism, (whoever that may be) to rethink what they are offering. When you think of Orlando you automatically think of what, Disney and Sea World. When you think of Tarpon Springs you think of the sponge boats and a look at the old Greek Islands. If we mention St. Augustine we automatically think of the oldest city in the US. These are just examples of location branding.

A community must decide what they are noted for and come up with a brand, then offer it to the public. Fernandina, in my opinion should be noted for it’s right to the brand of the birth place of the modern shrimping industry. It should be capitalized on and then marketed not only globally but, and most important in a down economy, regionally. If families in SE Georgia are not taking cruises or vacations abroad then perhaps they could be lured to come to Fernandina for a weekend. Offering reduced room rates and buy one get one free on certain seafood dinners at local restaurants blended with discounts to local attractions may be just what the doctor ordered to stimulate tourism. Always keeping the focus on the shrimping industry and what we can offer.

I bet if the city or TDC (Tourist Development Council) searched hard enough they could find a shrimper with a boat willing to take people out and demonstrate how shrimp are caught. This alone could be another small business creating not only jobs but attracting more dollars. They do this in Tarpon Springs with the sponge divers diving and gathering sponges, and it is one of the major attractions to that area. Can you see a cart being pushed through the streets of downtown Fernandina giving away, (yes for free) samples of Fernandina shrimp along with a gift certificate allowing them a discount (good for tonight only, or maybe tonight and tomorrow night) a seafood meal at different restaurants, do you think after sampling our shrimp they would be interested in cashing in on their new found savings? I would bet they would, or at a minimum give the coupon to a friend to use. There are many things a community can do to increase tourist dollars. The one thing they must do first is to stop thinking as they did yesterday and began thinking of what makes sense today. The bottom line is simply using what you already have that will attract regional, national and global tourist dollars. We have the resources, do we have anyone with vision enough to see it, change it and make it happen?

Feedburner Get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities
and videos every morning!

7 Comments

  1. dreamsfloatjoe

    “What can a community do to increase tourist dollars?” Well, the city did raise the rates at the harbor marina smore 'cruisers' would visit Fernandina Beach. (hehehe) How's that briliant idea working out? The fall/winter 'snow bird' and full time liveaboard cruisers will be trekking southbound soon enough. Wait to see.

  2. tommylee

    Attracting tourism is a community effort and should nt be left to a happy few (TDC) or city commissioners with the thought that that's what they are paid for or elected for. No, everyone has to contribute to attracting tourism, because if it is your income or at least a big part of it you have a responsibility.

    Now here is where the catch comes in. A few months ago I was in Fernandina or Amelia Island I should say and the “first impression” I got was… My god this is a dying destination. Driving even at night ( I arrived at night) th amount of “for sale” signs on Fletcher Ave would have scared the living daylights out of me and my first thought was let me get the hell out of Dodge, there cannot be anything going on in this town. It's more like a ghost town where the single most important economic activity had just vanished like a midwestener town relying on the on factory that just shut down.

    Well, my thoughts were actually correct from the impression. If you advertise you are poor, you are considered poor and whatever you do to stimulate or try to attract will have the opposite effect since you will have to attract more and more DIFFERENT people, since the ones that are coming to town have the same shock I had.

    The major hurdle to overcome in promoting Amelia Island as a vacation destination is to realize that your “prior and primary economy” was not driven by tourists but by construction. Amelia Island is marked, in my humble opinion, as a “retirement community”. And I cannot be too far off the mark since most of those signs on Fletcher Ave are second homes that people simply cannot afford anymore.

    So the question of “BRANDING” has to be very well thought out because that can backfire on you. The Island may brand itself in one way but is “Re-Branded” by the visitors based on perception. I'm writing from experience living on a pure “tourism driven economy” in the Caribbean. 14 Years ago we had a very destructive hurricane pay a visit to the Island and wrecked havoc. He, nothing wrong about that since the Island can rebuild and has done so and is still doing with one notable exception, a Resort Called Mullet Bay. Well Mullet bay could be compared to the Plantation on Amelia Island and Mullet Bay was considered the “flagship” tourism resort. Today 14 years of litigation, decrepit buildings and an eyesore on one of the most prominent locations on the Island for everyone to see is the result of inept government interference. They sat on there ass and did not do a thing about it. The Owner of the resort is sitting happily somewhere in the States on collected insurance money and refuses to settle a dispute with the home owners association. The tourist branded the island as not being back on track 14 years ago and to this day there are people that haven't been back to St. Maarten because of the Branding “St. Maarten is not open for tourism because Mullet Bay is not rebuilt”. By the way St. Maarten is also a construction economy and not a tourism economy pure sang since the tourism dollars are derived from construction activities.

    Visitors Brand not the city council nor the TDC.

    As to what to do to attract tourism, open a Real Estate mini mall where home owners can advertise their property for sale, get rid of all the signs posted within an ordinance, and start building events such a “Sounds on Centre” as a weekly recurring event while attracting popular bands from rock and roll to classics, come up with more of those events such as Harmony nights, Ghost nights, Pirate's play, re-invent the shrimp festival, An annual sailing event, and for heaven's sake get rid of that alcohol on the street prohibition, even if it is just for closed-off events alone. And last but not least a town that closes down at 9pm will never attract serious tourism.

    This can all be done, and done in style, but it is a community decision and a community effort.

  3. Ameliaprivateeye

    Interesting idea about the FREE shrimp cart and passing out coupons!

  4. judithharris

    Loved this piece. I agree and think the ideas presented in this article are great. I hope at least one person on the TDC reads it. I would be the first person to sign onto going out for a trip on a shrimp boat to see what it's like, and how those wonderful morsels of ecstasy are caught. In my opinion, there is no shrimp on this planet that tastes better than our fernandina shrimp.

  5. judithharris

    I loved this piece and agree with all the suggestions made in the article. I hope that at least one person on the TDC reads this. I would be the first to sign up to take a day trip on a shrimp boat, have actually wished for a long time to do so. It would be great fun to see how they catch those delicious morsels of ecstasy.

  6. judithharris

    Loved this piece. I agree and think the ideas presented in this article are great. I hope at least one person on the TDC reads it. I would be the first person to sign onto going out for a trip on a shrimp boat to see what it's like, and how those wonderful morsels of ecstasy are caught. In my opinion, there is no shrimp on this planet that tastes better than our fernandina shrimp.

  7. judithharris

    I loved this piece and agree with all the suggestions made in the article. I hope that at least one person on the TDC reads this. I would be the first to sign up to take a day trip on a shrimp boat, have actually wished for a long time to do so. It would be great fun to see how they catch those delicious morsels of ecstasy.

Leave a Comment