A growing number of snowbirds heading south in search of warmer weather during the winter are Baby Boomers — outwardly mobile retirees and vacationers who are traveling in motor homes or campers or cars or planes to escape the cold.
An Associated Press story reports:
“This annual migration of the AARP set is worth millions to the coastal economy and typically serves a financial bridge for tourist-dependent condominiums, restaurants and stores between the holidays and the start of spring break season, when business picks up again.”
This year, snowbirds are critical for the companies and property owners who have suffered for months because of the BP oil spill. Without the snowbirds, some businesses teetering on the edge of solvency may not make it until the weather warms up again.
“You take that away when they didn’t have anything to start with and you start a whole new tier of desperation,” said Tony Kennon, mayor of this beach town on the Alabama-Florida state line.
The local tourism agency is advertising in the Midwest, inviting snowbirds to return to the coast. Winter rates always are far less than summer prices, with many condominium owners renting out their units to Northern visitors for months at a time. Some condominiums and motels are offering even lower prices than normal this year, with prices reduced by two-thirds at a few.