LEE COUNTY FORE­CAST IS SUNNY

RSWLiving - - Making Waves - —Craig Gar­rett

Things are jump­ing in Lee County. Im­pact charts show a re­bound­ing econ­omy, from an in­crease in col­lected “bed taxes”—―a 5 per­cent fee vis­i­tors pay on short-term ac­com­mo­da­tions—to the num­ber of des­ti­na­tion vis­its. Lee County recorded a 16.5 per­cent in­crease in tourist tax rev­enue in 2013-14, for ex­am­ple. It’s es­ti­mated that tourism di­rects $3 bil­lion into Lee County’s an­nual econ­omy, which equates to some 55,000 jobs, or nearly one-quar­ter of the ac­tive work­force.

Lee County has inched many miles from the Great Re­ces­sion. Happy mer­chants and smil­ing tourists can partly thank the Lee County Vis­i­tor & Con­ven­tion Bureau, or VCB, for an uptick in the re­cov­ery. VCB mar­keters out­reach to the world, tar­get the Mid­west and other hotspots from which vis­i­tors are likely to hail―—places such as Chicago and Min­neapo­lis, for in­stance. The VCB, funded by bed tax rev­enue, also in­tro­duced the Is­land Hop­per Song­writer Fest on Cap­tiva, Fort My­ers Beach and in down­town Fort My­ers. “I’m proud of the VCB team, which con­tin­ues to push the en­ve­lope with in­no­va­tive ideas and tremen­dous ef­fort,” says Ta­mara Pig­ott, Lee County Vis­i­tor & Con­ven­tion Bureau ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

I’M PROUD OF THE VCB TEAM, WHICH CON­TIN­UES TO PUSH THE EN­VE­LOPE WITH IN­NO­VA­TIVE IDEAS AND TREMEN­DOUS EF­FORT.”

—TA­MARA PIG­OTT, LEE COUNTY VIS­I­TOR

& CON­VEN­TION BUREAU EX­EC­U­TIVE DI­REC­TOR

TAMARA PIGOTT

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