Visiting bikers contribute significantly to area economy
For motorcyclists, Daytona Bike Week and Biketoberfest offer opportunities to see thousands of bikes, buy the latest gear, add the coolest accessories the their rides and even catch some races. But for permanent and temporary vendors, Bike Week is seen as an annual economic boon.
Each year, Daytona Bike Week and Biketoberfest bring about $600 million in direct economic impact to the Daytona Beach, Fla., area, said Kevin Kilian, chief operating officer for the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce. Daytona Bike Week is the 70-plus-year-old event that draws about half a million people to the area in February each year, and Biketoberfest is the smaller 20-year old event held in October.
Obviously the local motorcycle vendors — from dealers to permanent and temporary aftermarket vendors and others associated with the industry — benefit from that traffic, but area hotels, restaurants and other businesses also reap economic rewards.
“I think all the businesses in Daytona Beach benefit,” Kilian said.
Destination Daytona, Daytona International Speedway, Beach Street, downtown Daytona Beach and the beach itself draw the largest crowds, but businesses throughout Volusia County profit from the events, especially as Bike Week has spread throughout the region.
“The reality of it is that the spreading out of the event has helped it,” Kilian explained. “It has helped it to make for a nicer visit for the visitors. There’s not as much congestion as it used to be. Of course there’s traffic, but it’s moving. The folks that are here are here to ride, so a large number of communities benefit from it.”
And after Bike Week concludes, even non-tourist companies and organizations benefit, as they’re indirectly affected by the increased spending done by those direct beneficiaries throughout the year.
“I think a lot of businesses benefit. I think a lot of the folks that are directly impacted by the event are also spending thousands here throughout the year,” Kilian explained.
Each year Kilian hopes the rallies have other affects on the area later in the year, as one of the goals of the event is to have bikers see the area, so they can learn about all that it has to offer and hopefully return again for a vacation.
Daytona Beach’s Bike Week brings unique challenges when compared to other rallies, Kilian said, because the event is held downtown in residential areas. However, because the event has been held each year for more than 70 years, most residents in the community have learned to live with the small inconveniences that outweigh the benefits, he said.
“Fortunately, the residents here are used to the events. It’s not just Bike Week; it’s the [NASCAR] races in February, and of course, there’s another race in July and the other bike event in October, but the residents are used to it,” he added.
This year brought a small change to Bike Week, as the dates were moved back to make room for a later Daytona 500 NASCAR race, but Kilian said even that change was met with open arms, as nearly the entire Bike Week was held during daylight saving time, bringing more daylight, likely prompting riders to stay out later and spend more money.
Because of the significant economic impact of Bike Week and the small degree of inconveniences for area residents, the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce will continue to support the event.
“I think there’s a lot of history here,” Kilian said. “Bike Week started in 1937, so it’s been an economic boon for the community for quite some time. I think it’s engrained in our community much like the 500 is. I think you can no more deny that than you can deny the racing heritage we have at the Speedway.”