CHARLOTTE HARBOR & THE GULF ISLANDS, Fla. (Dec. 2, 2013) – Just as winter rolls in up north, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau is gearing up to host eight members of the Canadian media during a two-day educational familiarization trip, Dec. 5 – 6, 2013. Prior to visiting Charlotte County, participants will be attending the Society of American Travel Writers Canadian Chapter conference in Sarasota Dec. 2 – 5. The group will be accompanied by a representative from VISIT FLORIDA’s Canada-based public relations agency.

During the visit, participants will spend one night in Punta Gorda, dine on fresh seafood, kayak the waterways and walk some of the County’s most remote beaches. Participants of the educational familiarization trip, called a “FAM”, will join members of the regional media during a Sunset Christmas Light Canal Cruise on Dec. 5 with King Fisher Fleet.

“The Christmas Light Canal Cruise is beautiful and a unique Charlotte County tradition. We’re not aware of any other Florida destination offering something similar so we decided to kick off the holidays by inviting journalists, photographers and online influencers to enjoy the cruise,” said Lorah Steiner, Tourism Director of the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau, “We anticipate 30 members of the media and their guests will be joining us in addition to the Canadian journalists.”

In addition to festive fun, Fat Point Brewing, a brewery and tap room scheduled to open at 611 Charlotte St., Punta Gorda in January, will be providing a tasting of their craft beer aboard this special cruise.

During the holiday cruise, participants are encouraged to use their social media channels as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share photos, videos and posts about the evening and will be using the hashtags #PGLights and #LoveFL.

Through hosting a FAM journalists are acquainted with the area’s tourism amenities and often result in thousands of dollars in editorial coverage. FAMs provide journalists with an opportunity to share stories about the destination with their readers. Charlotte County tourism organizations involved with hosting the group are Dean’s South of the Border, King Fisher Fleet, Palm Island Resort, Peace River Seafood, Phoenix Rising Kayak Tours, Trabue Restaurant and the Wyvern Hotel.

About Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands
Located halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf coast, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is a charming collection of nine coastal communities surrounding the state’s second largest harbor. Florida’s premier year-round eco-tourism destination, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands offers a pristine unspoiled beauty that has served as the backdrop for seven major feature films as well as countless memorable vacations. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands has been named to 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.” The city of Punta Gorda was named in one of “Top Ten Places to Retire Healthy” by U.S. News & World Report. Englewood was named as #2 of the Top Ten emerging travel destinations in the U.S. by

For information about other area events, activities and attractions, contact the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau, 18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B104, Port Charlotte, FL 33948; 941-743-1900, or call toll free at 1-800-652-6090 for a free Visitor’s Guide; or visit the Web site at

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Jennifer Huber
Tourism Public Relations Manager
Tel: (941) 743-1900
& Convention Bureau
18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B104
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
941-743-1900, FAX: 941-743-2245