You have undoubtedly heard the statement “it takes a Village”. Apply this thought process and ask yourself this question: What does it take to positively grow Tourism? Allow me to take you on a brief journey of how “it takes a Village” (and then some) to impact the leading industry for our area.
As Marketing Director for Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda, I have been traveling the State of Florida for the past three years to share our story. . . not just the story of Fishermen’s Village, a quaint quiet fishing village that has grown into the economic engine of Punta Gorda, but also the many other attractions which are nestled in our little piece of paradise we call home. I’ve met the nicest people in Bradenton, Tampa, St. Pete, Ocala, Arcadia, Cape Coral, Sarasota, Palmetto. . .the list goes on and on!
When I tally the comments I hear from the collective miles, the results are conclusive: about 50% of those I meet have visited Fishermen’s Village and the city of Punta Gorda. That leaves the other 50% who have not heard of our neck of the woods and ask, just exactly where is Punta Gorda located?? Some have lived in Florida many years, others are new to the area. Then, there are still others who say, “isn’t that the area that Hurricane Charley destroyed years ago”??? Be still my heart! I quickly CORRECT their perception, explaining that we were never “destroyed”. I add with great pride and confidence, “Life gave us lemons and we made lemonade and sweetened it up just a bit”! This turns the conversation to a positive tone, usually followed by questions about our area. . .
I talk to thousands of people each year from all over Florida who are just salivating at the idea of venturing into a new area and discovering unchartered territory (that is practically in their own back yard) What if . . . every time you venture on a day trip (even if only one hour away) you mention you live in Punta Gorda/Charlotte County and how great the area is!! What if you become an AMBASSADOR FOR TOURISM. . . What a great title to have!
When each of us promote our area and its’ many amenities, we drive new business to the area, which means increased tourism. This equates to: increase in sales, more jobs, better pay, stronger infrastructure, and a boom for the housing industry.
As a member of the Charlotte County Visitor’s Bureau Tourist Development Council, I know the efforts being made day in and day out to market to the masses. I challenge you to be that one extra voice to sing the praises of our community wherever you go. Maybe it is to your neighbor, a friend, a family member or a new business acquaintance. It takes MORE than a Village to make a difference and to effectively impact the growth of tourism. It takes each and every one of us! Join me in sharing your passion for Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands . . . Be an Ambassador each and every day!