HERITAGE TOURISM STUDY: ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA
Center for Tourism Research & Development
Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management
University of Florida
P.O. Box 118208
Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
(352) 392-3992 (phone)
(352) 392 7588 (fax)
St. Johns County Tourist Development Council
St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau
88 Riberia Street, Suite 400
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Heritage Tourism Study: St. Johns County, Florida
1. More than 2/3 of those surveyed were overnight visitors. The mean length of overnight stays was
3.8 days, more than 2/3 stayed for 2 to 3 days. Of those who were day visitors, the majority
stayed for 7.1 hours.
2. The most frequently used accommodations were hotels/motels (59.4%), followed by resorts
(3.3%). Approximately, 9% stayed with friends and relatives.
3. About 54% of the visitors were repeat visitors to St. Johns County. Over one quarter (26.2%) of
those surveyed had visited from 2 to 4 times in the last 12 months. The majority of respondents
had visited the region in the past five years.
4. More than V2 of the respondents heard about the area through word of mouth. Friends and family
(30.8%) provided the most information via word of mouth.
5. Of the seasons visited, spring received the most responses; this was also the most frequently
6. Primary reasons for visiting the county were: general sightseeing (27%), visiting historical sites
and museums (22%), sightseeing historical architecture & character (12%), and attending
personal special events (6%).
7. The most frequently participated in activities were general sightseeing (88%), visiting historical
sites and museums (80%), sightseeing historical architecture and character (71%), shopping
(68%), visiting a scenic area (62%), and visiting the beach (51%).
8. Sightseeing historical architecture & character (1%) had the highest mean number of trips made
within the St. Augustine region, while conferences and conventions (less than 1%) and sporting
events (less than 1%) had the lowest mean number of trips made within the St. Augustine region.
9. Visiting the beach (3%) had the highest mean number of trips made outside the St. Augustine
region, while art galleries (less than 1%) had the lowest mean number of trips made outside the
St. Augustine region.
10. The satisfaction with the region was very high (90%), indicating a high level of experience. Over
36% indicated that the quality of their experience was perfect.
11. The return potential was high with 61% of the visitors indicating that it was very likely that they
would return and 28% saying it was somewhat likely. Only about 1% said it was unlikely that
they would return.
12. The attractions most visited during this trip were Castillo de San Marcos (52%), Colonial Spanish
Quarter (41%), St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum (37%) and Oldest House Museum (35%).
13. The majority (88.1%) of surveyed visitors indicated they had some previous historical knowledge
about the sites they visited. The historical knowledge rating of most (58.4%) of the respondents
was limited. Only 7.2% of those sampled said they had extensive historical knowledge, while
8.7% said they had no historical knowledge.
14. Historic architecture, museums, and historic objects had the highest mean authenticity ratings,
each with a mean score of 4.1. Historic Architecture had the highest percentage of very authentic
responses (47%). Souvenirs had the highest percentage of very inauthentic responses (9%), and
the lowest mean score (3%).
15. The typical visitor to St. Johns County had incomes over $50,000 annually and had some college
or a college degree. The sampled visitors were about equally female and male, about half were
under 50 years of age. Over 3 of the sample was Caucasian or white.
16. Slightly more than half (58%) of the sampled visitors were traveling in groups of two, 8% were
solo travelers, about 6% in groups of 6 or more. The majority of travelers were traveling with
family (67%) followed by friends (16%).
17. The majority (60%) of survey participants were domestic tourists, while approximately 10% were
international tourists. Over one-quarter (30%) of the respondents were either a local or distant
18. Based on reported actual expenditures at the time the visitors were interviewed, and extrapolating
to an estimated 6,260,000 total visitors a year. This total estimate includes 2.46 million overnight
visitors in paid accommodations; 800,300 visiting friends and relatives and 3.0 million
excursionist traveling 50+ miles. It is estimated that about $1,092 million of added value
occurred to St. Johns County, attributable to tourists. This accounts for an estimated 32 thousand
jobs. The estimated total revenues from all classes of heritage tourists were $1,485.05 million in
2001. Visitors classified as primary heritage tourists contributed $459.17 million whereas
secondary heritage tourists contributed $1,390.88 million.