While a weekend stroll through downtown St. Augustine might lead one to believe everyone is already here, a couple major news outlets praising the city as a top travel destination could drive more visitors here.
Time has named St. Augustine as one of its “33 Amazing Cities You Should Visit in 2018,” and U.S. News &World Report includes it on its list of “Top 50 Romantic Destinations Around the World.”
St. Augustine has been a staple on many of these types of lists for several years now, but local tourism leaders say it’s still significant to be mentioned as a top destination by independent media sources.
Barbara Golden, communications manager for the county visitors and convention bureau, said the best example of a boost from media attention was earlier this decade when National Geographic named Nights of Lights one of the best Christmas lights displays in the world.
“We saw when Nights of Lights was put on that high accolade list, we started seeing a real big increase on Nights of Lights visitation,” Golden said.
The Time list, which was compiled by editors Madeline Diamond (Business Insider) and Ciara Appelbaum (TheInsider), puts St. Augustine up with traditional travel favorites like Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Orlando. But it also includes some surprises like Jacksonville and Detroit.
The story notes St. Augustine’s ties to history and its “Spanish-colonial architecture and beautiful natural surroundings.”
As for the U.S. News story, its list of destinations included such exotic locations as Belize, Paris, Morocco and others.
The story, which was posted Monday, mentions the “moss-blanketed oaks” and “captivating coastal views.” It also singles out local attractions like the Castillo de San Marcos and Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. It suggests staying at the Casa Monica Resort &Spa.
Golden said the publicity for the whole area is just one more enticement to new visitors.
“Those lists, they always have huge impacts for us,” she said. “Published accolade lists have been a source contribution to the growing popularity of our city as a destination.”
Not directly promoting St. Augustine but certainly highlighting the destination is another travel story from USA Today. It is letting readers vote for the best new hotel in America. Among the nominees is The Collector Luxury Inn &Gardens on Cordova Street. The hotel is at the site of the former Dow Museum of Historic Houses of St. Augustine.