Havasu remains lively despite college break cancellations | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Havasu remains lively despite college break cancellations

FILE - In this March 19, 2009, file photo, students on spring break line the waterway in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Lake Havasu City's beaches have been bustling for the first few weeks of the traditional spring break period. That's good news for local businesses that depend on spring break tourism, especially since so many colleges canceled their spring break vacations this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca, File)
March 20, 2021 - 6:00 AM

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - Lake Havasu City’s beaches have been bustling for the first few weeks of the traditional spring break period.

That’s good news for local businesses that depend on spring break tourism — especially since so many colleges cancelled their spring break vacations this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The demographic profiles of spring breakers visiting Havasu, however, could be a little different than years past as families and older residents seem to have taken the place of college students.

It’s a trend that local tourism officials expect to continue as temperatures rise, Today's News-Herald reports.

Lake Havasu City has long been a hot-spot for university students each March and April. But with many universities cancelling their spring break festivities this year, GoLakeHavasu President Terence Concannon expects to see fewer students and more families in Havasu this year.

“There are no colleges that we’re aware of that are allowing Spring Break this year,” Concannon said Tuesday. “GoLakeHavasu is doing no marketing for this demographic. Havasu’s hotels are focusing on families for their spring break revenue, and we feel that’s our best bet for a robust March.”

According to Concannon, the city’s tourism bureau is expecting many visitors to experience shorter stays in Havasu this spring. It’s a growing trend, recognized by tourism officials as “toe-dipping.”

The trend describes shorter getaways, favoured primarily by families on a budget, as vacationers renew their confidence in travelling during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve always marketed Havasu as a great destination no matter your travel window,” Concannon said. “But the short stays are important for us, being within five hours of so many major metropolitan areas. After the crisis, it will take some time before people are interested in long-haul travel. But Lake Havasu makes a great location for a quick refresh.”

Lake Havasu Hospitality Association President Matt Brewster also expects to see more families venturing to Havasu this year. But for now, he says visitors are staying longer and seeing more of what Havasu has to offer. In a year of surprises, Brewster says he’s reluctant to make any assumptions about what this summer will have in store.

“Every year, we’ve been seeing more and more families,” Brewster said. “I think a lot of them are happy to get out after being cooped up for so long. The length of time people are staying is actually normal for this time of year. Spring breakers would usually come and stay for 3-5 days, and now it’s families who are staying for that long. I think as a community, we’ve wanted for a while to have spring break supplemented by families, and now we’re getting closer to that.”

And that could have an added bonus of its own, Brewster said.

“A lot of locals tend to lock down when the spring breakers are here, and don’t really go out until they’ve left,” Brewster said. “We’re hoping that with more families, more Havasu residents will go out and enjoy our businesses and restaurants.”

According to Brewster, hospitality-oriented businesses nationwide are seeing an upward trend in hotel reservations, with more Americans planning to travel this year than throughout the pandemic.

“This is industry-wide,” Brewster said. “And it’s very exciting for us to see.”

With spring soon underway, visitors have already taken to Havasu’s beaches.

With multiple events held throughout the city this weekend, and more planned in the future, some business owners believe the surge is only just beginning.

At Beach Shack Rentals, near London Bridge Beach, Roseanne Hurt has seen growing business and no small amount of activity on the Bridgewater Channel as temperatures continue to rise.

“The real crowds are still on their way,” said Roseanne Hurt, of Beach Shack Rentals. “I think we’re going to have the same sort of summer as last year – especially if the stimulus checks are released by then. (During the crisis), California and Nevada shut down last year, and everyone came here. Last year was the best year we ever had.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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