Six months in: Margaritaville’s impact on Fort Myers Beach

Reporter: Amy Galo
Published: Updated:

Imagine you’re enjoying a day poolside at Margaritaville.

“The pool’s fabulous,” said Linda Richards, visiting from Cape Coral. “The service is great. The drinks taste good.”

You don’t have a care in the world. There’s a cold beer in your hand, but as you head towards the beach, you realize you forgot your sunglasses.​ What do you do?

Visit a local shop, of course.

“They don’t want to go back [to the hotel] to get them, so they buy a pair from me,” said Lori Hines, who works at the Southern Sunglasses booth on Times Square.

Her shop’s right next door to Margaritaville, which opened up six and a half months ago.

“Business has been really good with Margaritaville,” said Hines. “We’re happy to have them on the beach.”

Locals told WINK that things look a lot different on Fort Myers Beach now.

“It was so sad coming down here,” said Jim, visiting Margaritaville from North Naples. “Fort Myers Beach really took a hit, as we all know, but things are looking sharp here now.”

The island is staying busy with both vacationers and locals.

WINK caught up with Robert Kisabeth, the Chief Operating Officer for TPI Hospitality, the company that owns Margaritaville on Fort Myers Beach. He said the numbers are looking good.

“February, which is season for Florida, we ran 75% occupancy,” said Kisabeth. “And March, we had 95% occupancy. So it’s really a great start.”

But as we head into the summer months, Kisabeth expects a dip in hotel stays.

“We’re going to run in the 50’s and 60%, but our pool is packed,” said Kisabeth.

With occupancy rates expected to drop in the summer, one of Margaritaville’s main focuses right now is getting some more locals out to The Beach Club.

So on Tuesdays, they’re doing free admission for local heroes at the pool, which, in turn, should help local businesses get some more foot traffic.

“We are seeing a lot more tourists,” said Hines. “We have La Ola open. We have Buffalo’s now open. We’ve got a lot more restaurants opening. There’s music everywhere all the time.”

A sign of hope.

“We’re coming back,” said Hines. “We’re going to be bigger and better.”

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