And it was another record year for tourism in Collier County.
The county saw more tourists come to town than ever in 2015.
More than 1.8 million visitors stayed in hotels or other vacation rentals, a 3.1 percent increase over the year, according to a report by county consultant Research Data Services Inc. of Tampa.
Last year, visitors booked more than 2.5 million room nights, 1.3 percent more than they did in 2014. Their spending grew even more.
The total economic boon from tourists in the county reached more than $1.95 billion in 2015, increasing 8 percent over the year.
In 2015, occupancy in the county’s hotels and other vacation rentals ran higher year-over year in every quarter, except the final one, when it dipped slightly. For the year, it increased 1.7 percent, reaching 76.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the average daily rate last year grew 7.7 percent to $205.80.
Collier County saw more visitors from all of its major feeder markets last year. Florida remains the top market, with 628,178 of the county’s visitors coming from other parts of the state last year.
The county’s second largest feeder market in 2015 was the Northeastern U.S., which sent 350,339 visitors this way. That was followed by Europe, which brought in another 298,636 visitors.
More visitors in 2015 translated to more customers for local restaurants, shops and attractions. Fifth Avenue South — a popular destination for tourists — was bustling.
While tourism was up for the year in the Collier County, it slowed in the final month.
In December, the county saw 149,900 visitors, down 1.3 percent from a year ago. The number of room nights booked fell 4 percent to 197,4000, with fewer visitors coming from the Northeast, Canada, Europe and opportunity markets where the tourism bureau doesn’t advertise. Occupancy dropped by 2.7 percent.
Visitor spending for December still rose 3 percent to more than $172.6 million.
With the weather so warm up north in early and mid-December, some local hotels saw cancellations, including the Inn on Fifth, Christopher said. She described the cancellations as hair-raising, but said new guests booked rooms, and the hotel ended up meeting its goal for the month.