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Listen in: Bethune-Cookman University’s dean of business & entrepreneurship talks economic boost of Biketoberfest

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Photo: Dr. Lawrence M. Drake II

Bikers are descending on Daytona Beach for the annual Biketoberfest, a four-day bicycle rally that was canceled last year due to concerns over COVID-19.

WMFE spoke with Bethune-Cookman University’s Dean of the College of Business & Entrepreneurship Lawrence M. Drake II about the economic impact of the event. 

Read the full interview below. 

Danielle: What’s the economic impact on the area of a bike rally like this?

Dr. Drake: Somewhere between $15 and $16 million is the estimate. But I think that depends on the attendance. People have estimated that the attendance is somewhere between 100 and 125,000 people for that four-day weekend, but that’s still pretty significant for a city the size of Daytona Beach.

Danielle: Absolutely. And when we’re talking about that kind of economic impact, what sort of businesses are being impacted?

Dr. Drake: Obviously, restaurants, and some retail, but I think restaurants and hotels will probably be the biggest beneficiary. And I believe that in some cases, there’s a degree of tourism, that happens because for some, this may be their first time to Daytona Beach.

Danielle: Black Bike Week was canceled this year. And so this is kind of the only bike rally that’s been allowed to continue was that a missed opportunity do you think financially and otherwise?

Dr. Drake: Well, I think that any, you know, anytime you have an opportunity to improve the economic conditions of a city, as you know, cities are always trying to grow their revenue base and pay for the city services, other than what they received from taxpayers. You know, it’s always a consideration. So I’m not sure of the reasons why Black Bike Fest was canceled. But, you know, I would say that I’m sure that the city would love to bring bikers to Daytona Beach. And, of course, their fest was canceled in Myrtle Beach, which is a little bit of distance away. But still, at the end of the day, my understanding is bikers from all over the country are still going to attend, regardless of their race, or gender.

Danielle: That’s true. That’s true. How much does Daytona Beach, how far does it have to come back to what it was before the pandemic when we look at just the the the economy and and what do you think it’s going to take to kind of help bring the area back to what it was before March 2020?

Dr. Drake: Yeah, I think that the recovery is going to, you know, continue to, to, you know, not accelerate, but at least begin to improve. Much of the United States continues to deal with this recovery and deal with it in a way that takes into account not only many of the things that happened during COVID. Of course, we had the, a significant number of people in the service sector. Some returned back to work, some did not, some of that because of the conditions and the situations that the vaccine presented, some deciding to change careers. And therefore the economic recovery of course is dependent on that. I think Daytona Beach, will probably mirror many other resorts cities, slowly coming back, but surely ultimately coming back.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »