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The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau ushered in the New Year with a new look, rebranding from The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel to Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods.
The new name and new logo — complete with a colour palette of pinks, yellows, blues and greens to match the tones of the destination — come with the launch of a new website, VisitFortMyers.com, and a revamped Visitor Guide.
To find out more about the rebrand and the importance of the Canadian market, Travel Courier caught up with Pamela Johnson, Deputy Director of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.
Rebranding is not easy. You must be sure your new name best positions your brand to your target audiences. Our previous brand name, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel stood strong for two decades and it needed refreshing. We look at “Fort Myers” as a simpler version of what we are doing, and the new brand we landed on is Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches, and Neighborhoods, a better reflection of the entire destination.
Visitor behaviour has evolved during Covid-19 and destination marketing organizations must be prepared to meet the needs of the traveller – whether it be building in safety messaging in our marketing campaigns to eliminate uncertainty, or adding more personalization features since visitor preferences have changed.
Before the pandemic, Canada was the number one international market of origin for Fort Myers. Canadian visitors are slowly returning to Florida – the first being the return of the “snowbirds” looking to escape the winter doldrums.
The Visitor & Convention Bureau has always maintained a presence in our key domestic and international markets. While some destination marketing organizations had to abandon international outreach in 2020-2021 due to lack of funding, staff, etc., it was always important that we stay present in the Canadian market – even in a small way – to assure the travel trade we were here to support them. Like many, we shifted to virtual trainings, FAMs, and outreach… the small things we could accomplish while being physically separated.
Finally, we have been a proud partner with VoX, based in Toronto. VoX has represented our Florida destination for almost ten years.
Travel advisors have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution in the success of our destination. The partnership we have with this important group includes educational outreach, support materials, travel academies, contests – you name it – working in a collaborative spirit will help us recover faster.
Leoma Lovegrove is an impressionist-expressionist painter known worldwide for her vivid colourful paintings. Leoma is a graduate of Florida’s prestigious Ringling School of Art and makes her home and international headquarters on Matlacha Island. Every year she greets thousands of visitors where Leoma is inspired to paint with endless creativity. She loves Matlacha and promotes tourism to the Sunshine state.
Buckingham Farms is an 85-acre farm located in Fort Myers, Florida focused on producing fresh quality vegetables, delicious farm-to-table meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One of the must-see animals for residents and visitors to our area is the manatee and Manatee Park has a great viewing area for spotting them. Also known as “sea cows” due to their diet of sea grass, Florida manatees have recently been removed from the endangered status list, although they remain threatened. The park opened in 1996 and includes native plantings, trails, and a wild butterfly garden.
The Islands of Sanibel and Captiva makes for a great day trip if you are not already staying on the island. There were seashells everywhere. A walk on the beach will leave you with your hands so full of shells that you fear you may drop one of your treasures walking to your car. The entire beach is a shell bonanza, but if you watch the locals and those who visit frequently, they know the secret to a good shell is to get in the water to look or comb the beach super early. I even had the joy of watching dolphins swim within a few feet of where I was wading. Check out the lighthouse and the walking trail around it.
Are you with a group of people who can never make up their minds about where to go and what to eat? Just visit Dixie Fish Co. A few items that are must-have is the whole fish of the day. This fresh catch is prepared the way you choose. The selection of rum punches is fabulous. They have a bacon crusted grouper sandwich that is heavenly. Parking is at a premium; you will likely have to park in the Doc Fords Rum Bar lot.
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