The Flagler Beach City Commission signed off on returning the city’s popular holiday-season events and First Friday, kicking off on Dec. 3 and 4. The city will also launch the second edition of Starry Nights, lighting up the pier, Veterans park and participating businesses, also starting on Dec. 3.
Tourist Development Council
Five residents and the mayor make up the committee that will study the continued feasibility of July 4 fireworks, while the city will ask the county’s tourism bureau for twin allocations of $25,000 next year, to pay for both July 4 and New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Flagler County’s tourism-tax revenue has gone up three successive months between July and September, substantially so in August and September, in contrast with statewide tourism revenue, which plummeted 30 percent in the third quarter. Vacation rentals, the beach, and vacationers traveling shorter distances account for the county’s success.
Flagler County’s vacation rentals may operate again after a two-month hiatus forced by a governor’s order in response to the coronavirus emergency. Rentals may resume immediately.
Flagler County’s ex-tourism director Matt Dunn was suspended 13 months ago and fired in October following allegations of embezzlement. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agency now says no evidence warrants a criminal investigation.
For the first time in 22 years, Flagler Beach will not hold its traditional July 4 parade and fireworks, nor will Palm Coast hold its own Independence Day festivities, which would have normally taken place in Central Park on July 3.
Counties can submit vacation-rental reopening plans to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which will have to sign off on the proposals.
Flagler County government officials are under pressure to at least partially reopen the beaches on the Volusia model, where walking, swimming and surfing is allowed, but they cite several reasons why that would be ill-advised for a few weeks yet.
Flagler County Tourism Director Matt Dunn had been placed on paid administrative leave in April after coming under criminal investigation. The county says the tourism bureau is turning away from Dunn’s sports-oriented tourism, and was not firing him for any wrongdoing.
The Flagler County Tourism Office, also known as Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, is conducting a resident awareness survey to judge resident perception of its efforts and identify areas for improvement.