NAPLES, Fla - With the tourist season in full swing, Naples leaders and business owners are reporting better sales than ever before.
"It looks like we could have a year that could compete with 2005," says Naples Mayor John Sorey.
With a recovering economy, it's welcomed news for an area that relies heavily on tourism dollars.
"This will be the best Thanksgiving week that we've ever seen," say Tony Ridgway, the owner of Ridgway Bar and Grill.
The restaurant has been on 3rd Street since 1976 and owner Tony Ridgway has been in Naples since 1971. "We're going to be up anywhere from 20-30 percent over last year and last year was significantly better than prior years, so it's going to be a record.
Traditionally, the Monday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest nights of the year on Third Street with the annual tree lighting ceremony and parade. From the lights, to the snow to Santa Claus, the street are packed.
"This is a tradition. I've been coming down since 2002 and it's just so amazing, it's so beautiful to be a part of all this," says Marie DeFrancis of Delaware.
The restaurants are packed too. "We're really excited about tonight. We're completely sold out for two full seatings tonight, so I feel like it's New Years Eve here," says Tanya Buchanan, General Manager at Sea Salt.
Buchanan says they're already seeing more foot traffic than last year and reservations this week tripled.
And with a great October, a great November and now a record breaking Thanksgiving week in the books, Ridgway says he's feeling very optimistic heading into 2013.
"We also have significantly better bookings for Christmas parties between now and Christmas that we've had in probably six or seven years so there's just a lot of optimism out there," says Ridgway.
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