According to a survey that took place some time ago, more than 90 percent of snowbirds are expected to return to Florida this winter. Still, sentiments have dipped slightly to a lower side since the COVID delta variant is now in the air. More Canadian snowbirds planned to return in 2021 after staying home the previous winter. Research has revealed that there seems to be a lot of demand from the regular snowbirds to return to a warmer climate here in Sarasota.
Stephen Fine, founder of Snowboard Advisor, said that during the first year of COVID-19, many Canadian snowbirds chose to stay at home. According to a survey conducted by the publication last year, only about 30% of snowbirds returned to their usual sunny destinations for the 2021 season. Things appear to be looking up this year, according to Fine.
While many Canadian snowbirds stayed home last winter instead of sunbathing at Siesta Beach or sipping a drink at a downtown rooftop bar, as snowbird season approaches this year Canadian Snowbird’s return this season is anticipated.
Many people say that it’s not possible to drive their car across the border, and thereby they choose to fly down, and others choose to get their vehicles shipped from Canada, particularly for this season.
What the survey has to tell us
We surveyed before the cases began to rise, and we anticipate that 90 percent of snowbirds will return. Fine says. “At this point, we don’t think we’ll get to 90 percent, which would be close to pre-pandemic levels.” So, it’ll be somewhere between last year and this year – probably 50-60 percent.” Despite the strength of Sarasota, local real estate agents, and real estate reports that since the pandemic began, Canadian buyers haven’t purchased much. Some older Canadian homeowners are selling their Florida properties, while younger and active adults in their 50s or 60s are holding on to their assets, hoping for better post-pandemic days sooner than later.
The most notable difference is that Sarasota is no longer receiving its regular influx of Canadians. Despite the ongoing pandemic, many of the area’s regular snowbirds have decided to fly – or drive – south for the winter. Whatever Sarasota has lost from its snowbird population, it has more than made up for in-state visitors looking for a staycation. In-state visitation (Florida residents visiting Sarasota from other parts of the state) increased by 42 percent between October 2019 and October 2020. Those visitors were mostly from major cities such as Tampa, Orlando, and Naples.
And Sarasota Bradenton International Airport’s passenger numbers reflect that same need to travel. Even though traffic for November 2020 was only 58 percent of what it was this time last year, year-to-date figures put the airport “well ahead” of the national average, according to airport CEO Rick Piccolo.
Luckily for all Snowbirds, no matter where they come from, Sarasota is jumping! Parking spaces on Main Street may be scarce, but the resort lifestyle, fabulous weather and the arts are plentiful to keep everyone happy.