Client News

Naples Daily News: Commentary: Tourism aids Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in Naples

Monday, October 02, 2017

By Jack Wert, Executive director, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau

Three weeks ago, record-breaking Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, heavily impacting several cities across the state and leaving millions without power.

However, the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in concert with Collier County government officials have worked tirelessly to orchestrate a quick and efficient recovery.

We are pleased to once again welcome visitors to Florida’s Paradise Coast. Our tourism industry partners are working together to help Collier County businesses and their employees get back to work as soon as possible.

Our famous white sand beaches, great restaurants, boutique shopping and the majority of our famed resorts and hotels are open and ready to serve visitors again.

Although Collier County sustained damage to homes, businesses, schools and more, maintaining the tax revenue generated by visitor spending will help Collier support the thousands of jobs in hospitality and tourism and all the other businesses that receive revenue from visitors. We will be hosting first responders, utility workers and insurance adjusters for some time to come, but we will also have hotel availability for our new and repeat visitors.

Some areas of Collier County were impacted more heavily than others and will take longer to recover from the magnitude of Hurricane Irma. However, the majority of the tourism-related businesses are reporting that they will be back in full operation by the first or second week of October.

The relief efforts to those areas of our community that have serious damage have been extraordinary. There are several humanitarian groups that have come to Collier County and are assisting the residents in those hard-hit areas to find shelter, clothing and other basic necessities.

The most important thing that we at the CVB can do is to get the word out that our area was impacted, but we are back open and are once again welcoming guests.

The more visitors we are able to attract back to our community, the more jobs we can support.

The upcoming annual stone crab season kicks off Oct. 15 and the fishing fleet is gearing up to harvest this seasonal delicacy. The famous Stone Crab Festival takes place Oct. 27-29 in the Naples waterfront area of Tin City and will attract thousands of visitors from all over Florida and the U.S.

Also in late October, the Naples International Film Festival will showcase the cultural arts in our community. Then in late November and December, Naples Restaurant Week will showcase the great food scene we have here in Collier County.

These events will bring new business to our hotels, restaurants and shops and help get people back to work. Every 45 new visitors we attract to Collier County will support one resident working full-time in our industry. There are currently more than 37,500 hospitality and tourism jobs in Collier County. These are year-round jobs that support our families, friends and relatives.

Remember also that visitors save Collier homeowners almost $1,000 in taxes, and 24.3 percent of all taxes collected annually by the state come from our visitors.

To add tax revenue and jobs to our local economy, however, we must continue to market our community to potential visitors worldwide. That’s where our tourism promotion efforts through the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB steps in. Our tourism marketing program is critical following a natural disaster like Irma and throughout the year to keep visitors coming.

The power of tourism will help our community recover quickly from Irma, get our citizens back to work and will send a clear message to our future guests that Florida’s Paradise Coast is clear and open for business.

Wert is executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau


Read here:

« Return to News