PUNTA GORDA/ENGLEWOOD BEACH, Fla. (September 18, 2018) – Lorah Steiner, Charlotte County’s Director of Tourism, is retiring on September 28 after more than 37 years in the hospitality industry. Steiner has served as Charlotte County’s Director of Tourism for the past seven years and has accomplished a great deal during this time to benefit tourism in Charlotte County.

Under Steiner’s leadership the Visitor and Convention Bureau grew with the implementation of four new positions, the Tourist Development Tax collections increased more than 80 percent, and the destination was rebranded from Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands to Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach. Steiner established Tourism Teams, a project where she engaged members of the community to propose ideas with the goal of enhancing tourism. She created the Event Development Funding Program through which many area events are financially supported, thereby developing a strong sense of community among the locals while also fostering tourism. Steiner is a champion for the arts and culture community; as well as her staff, industry partners, and Charlotte County tourism as a whole. 

“It has been my pleasure to meet and work with so many exceptional people during my time with Charlotte County,” said Steiner. “This area will forever hold a special place in my heart and I wish everyone on my team and in the community the best on their journeys while I look ahead to a new chapter in mine.” Prior to her tenure as Charlotte County’s Tourism Director, Steiner held the position of Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau for the city of Columbia, Missouri from 1987 through 2011. 

“I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Ms. Steiner over the last five years, on tourism issues, tourism opportunities and through serving as the as the Chairman of the Tourist Development Council,” said Bill Truex, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. “She is a wonderful person, knowledgeable, professional and has been a real asset to Charlotte County,” he added. “Lorah will be greatly missed but the team she has developed will carry on the successes she has worked so diligently to develop.”

Following Steiner’s retirement announcement, Sean Doherty was appointed to the position of Interim Director of Tourism. Doherty, who was previously the Sales & Sports Marketing Manager at the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor and Convention Bureau, was the fitting choice for this tourism leadership role. Doherty has been an invaluable asset to the Charlotte County team since 2005 and has been integral in promoting the destination through the management of the sales processes for the sports, leisure and meeting markets. Some of the key events he developed include, SpringFling Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse , Charlotte Harbor Regatta, Snowbird Baseball Classic and many other beloved county events. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to build upon the excellent foundation that Ms. Steiner has established during her tenure at the VCB” said Doherty. “Her shoes are big ones to fill but I am confident moving forward, supported by the stellar team Ms. Steiner worked hard to implement.” 


Images of: Lorah Steiner and Sean Doherty

Located halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast, Punta Gorda /Englewood Beach is a charming collection of nine coastal communities surrounding the state’s second largest harbor. Florida’s premier year-round eco-tourism destination, the area offers a pristine unspoiled beauty. In 2014, Port Charlotte was named the top “U.S. Best Value Destination” by Trivago (the world’s largest online hotel search site), and the Charlotte Sports Park, spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, was voted “Best Spring Training Facility” by readers of USA TODAY. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Punta Gorda / Englewood Beach has been named one of SAIL magazine’s “10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States,” ranked by Golf Digest as “Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America,” and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the South.” Englewood was named second of the Top Ten emerging travel destinations in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.com. The area is served by five airports: The Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) with private and charter air service, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Southwest Florida International Airport, Ft. Myers, (RSW), St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA). For more information on visiting Punta Gorda / Englewood Beach visit PureFlorida.com or call1-800-652-6090.
Jennifer Huber                                                 
Tourism Public Relations Manager                                                           
Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau                         

(941) 743-1900 or jennifer.huber@charlottecountyfl.gov
Melissa Cederquist
Public Relations Manager
Aqua Marketing & Communications
(239) 398-3019 or Melissa@welcometoaqua.com