Seasonal visitors absent in Volusia; hotels hopeful vaccine rollout helps travel

Some Volusia County hotels held out hope for seasonal visitors but with the winter season in full swing, occupancy rates are suffering.

FOX 35 News first talked with Andrew Hands, owner of Ocean Court Motel, in mid-November.  He was hopeful some of his Canadian tourism, which he says make a big part of his profit would turn out.

Now in late December, he says they all had to cancel.

"I’m getting emails, phone calls, they all want to be down here, of course, they’re shoveling snow which they don’t want to do," he said.

Down the street at Sun Viking Lodge, owner Gary Brown also hit hard. He tells FOX 35 News this year he had no Canadian tourism able to make it.

"Unfortunately, this year we have none because of the travel restrictions," he said. 

He has owned the beachside lodge for 50 years and calls this the biggest challenge by far.

"I’ve seen the good the bad the ugly and this COVID 19 is by far the worst thing we’ve had to endure," he said.

They were hopeful for a holiday weekend boost, but with the chilly temperatures, they’re not holding their breath.

"I love it when it’s 80 degrees on Christmas day, but unfortunately with the forecast, I don’t think that’s gonna happen this year," said Brown. 

Both have dropped rates, increased advertising, and tried to give customers peace of mind, but they think the vaccine rollout will be the biggest help.

"Now that the vaccine is out that might help some people with their fears of traveling, and maybe we’ll get some business soon," he said.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.