Colder weather up north helps to drive up business for some Florida resorts

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - With temperatures pushing into the 70s along Pinellas County's sandy shores, the snowbirds are chirping.

"It's a nice break," said Lois Rump. "We love our seasons too. But it's a nice break for us."

Out by the pool, Rump and her family, all visiting from Ontario, couldn't be happier with the spring feel considering temperatures back home are still in negative numbers.   

"Come on down," wants to tell friends.

And on this Chamber-of-Commerce day, the Chamber says business is booming.

"We're right in the heart of season," said Charlie Indingaro, one of their long-time volunteers.

Indingaro said the pattern is holding pretty true to form.
 
"The first people that come are the Canadians," he said. "And the second people that come are people from Michigan. You watch the license plates -- Ontario. When you see Michigan, the game is on."  

But at the Tradewinds, one of the most well-known and popular tourist spots, bookings for March are down so far. Resort President Keith Overton has been with the Tradewinds for 20 years and said the slowdown isn't a worry yet. He believes an increase in living expenses related to the snow storms, such as heating bills, may prevent some from traveling.

"Costs are going up as it relates to getting through the winter season," he said. "Is that going to affect travel? We really don't know. We hope it doesn't, but that possibility certainly exists."

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