Thursday, 07 December 2006 00:00
VisitWritten by Valerie Alker
The number of visitors to Florida in 2006 is down from a year ago. But Lee County is bucking the trend.
According to Smith Travel Research there were double digit declines in September and October hotel occupancy in the Orlando area. But the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau’s Nancy Hamilton says the agency’s advertising and promotion efforts have paid off.
“when we able to increase the tourist tax rate we were able to pull in more tourist tax dollars to devote to our marketing campaign and the numbers are up when other areas are showing a decrease so I think it’s helped”
Hamilton says expenditures are also up 9 percent. The latest tourism numbers plus projections for early 2007 will be released at the bureau’s December meeting on Friday. In 2005 more than two million visitors spent more than two billion dollars in Lee County.
Lee County Tourism officials say aggressive marketing campaigns have kept hotels and resorts busy – bucking a decline that’s hit most of the state. The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau’s Nancy Hamilton says numbers were even up in the steamy, slow month of September.
“looking at this year to date through October overall every area we look at are up – we seem to be having a good year…we were up in both visitor counts and expenditures in September – so has it been a fabulous blow them out of the sky year – no – but everything is on the positive side so I think some of our extra advertising campaign and promotions have helped out”
An increase in the county’s tourist tax provided the revenue for the boost in advertising. Hamilton says the German and Canadian markets were targeted this summer and efforts paid off. Projections for 2007 will be reviewed at the tourism bureau’s monthly meeting this Friday.