ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Manatee County commissioners have approved a record $13.2 million marketing budget for the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) for fiscal year 2020-21.
Highlights of the 2020-21 CVB budget:
Online/digital marketing $2.36 million
Sports marketing $2.1 million
Advertising agency (Aqua) $1.23 million
LECOM Park $900,000
Florida Railroad Museum $700,000
Central European marketing $688,714
Allegiant Airlines initiatives $630,000
United Kingdom marketing $628,693
TV/radio ads $458,000
Tourism consultant $310,000
Website management $300,000
Concert series $200,000
Anna Maria Island budget items
AMI Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Center and Ambassador program $181,900
AMI Chamber ads $90,000
Magazine/newspaper ads $82,050
Symphony on the Sand $60,000
Source: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
The budget – up 67% from five years ago – is aimed at attracting more visitors to Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and the Manatee County portion of Longboat Key.
The largest overall expenditure is online and digital marketing – more than $2.36 million over two years – reflecting an industrywide departure from print advertising.
Sports marketing ranks second, with $2.1 million allocated, not including another $900,000 in capital improvements for baseball stadium LECOM Park (McKechnie Field).
Other high-ticket items are the Aqua advertising agency ($1.23 million, not including its portion of the online and digital marketing budget), marketing in Central Europe ($688,714) and marketing in the United Kingdom ($628,693).
Budget funding is generated by Manatee County’s 5% tourist tax, paid by visitors to lodging establishments that rent for six months or less. The county spends about half of the tax proceeds on tourism marketing to draw more tourists to the area; 20% of the taxes are allocated to beach renourishment. Other recent uses have included rebuilding fishing piers in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach.
The Manatee County Tourist Development Council (TDC) voted in June to recommend the budget to Manatee County commissioners for final approval on Sept. 24.