The Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority (LLIDA) met in early June to approve its 2022 operating budget and discuss progress on the proposed new hotel and conference center.

“The outlook at Margaritaville and Lanier Islands is very positive for this season,” said Virgil Williams, whose family business, Lake Lanier Islands Management Company, has operated Lanier Islands since 2005. “After coming through last year, we are very optimistic about this season and the rest of the year as people begin traveling and resuming their recreational activities.”

Pre-COVID, Margaritaville experienced an increase in attendance. “2019 was the best year ever in the 15 years we’ve been here, setting records,” Williams said. “Then COVID hit. But now we’re coming back.”

Over the past four years, Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly has provided funding through general obligation bonds for the development of the Islands’ new conference center on the former site of the PineIsle Hotel. The total amount is slightly less than $52 million. The initial funding was used for feasibility studies, planning, design and infrastructure improvements.

“With appropriations from the state, we’ve got a good head start for the conference center and new hotel,”  Williams said. He said that other sources of funding will be sought, including private sources and partnerships.

Bucky Perry, vice president of operations for Islands Entertainment that operates Margaritaville, updated the board about several ongoing and new projects, including completion of the new dry-stack storage at the Port of Indecision Marina and the next phase of the Camp Margaritaville RV Park. Four more cabins will be available in mid-to-late July.

The next LLIDA meeting is set for Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 2:30 p.m.