PUNTA GORDA/ENGLEWOOD BEACH, Fla. (April 10, 2017) – Creative placemaking improves a community’s quality of life, economic health and tourism development. To emphasize the importance of arts and tourism, the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast tourism community will come together Friday, May 12, at the Englewood Event Center to celebrate the importance of a creative community during the annual Tourism Luncheon and Charlotte County Tourism Hall of Fame Induction. The signature annual event of the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau will feature Maestro Raffaele Livio Ponti as the keynote speaker.  

“Albert Einstein called creativity, 'intelligence having fun,'” said Lorah Steiner, Director of the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau said, “and creative placemaking is valuing and encouraging the creative process in every aspect of a community ranging from schools to the workplace. It’s also about innovation and willingness to take risks. In developing our luncheon around this theme, we hope to inspire everyone to bring more creativity into their lives at home and at work." 

Arts and culture exhibitors from throughout Charlotte County will welcome luncheon attendees and the atmosphere of the lunch will be lively, fun and, yes, creative!

The 2017 inductee into the Charlotte County Tourism Hall of Fame will be honored in a ceremony following the keynote address. Established in 2014, the Charlotte County Tourism Hall of Fame was created to honor people whose body of work in support of Charlotte County tourism has been both exceptional and diverse. Nominations are being accepted through 5 p.m. on April 19, 2017, and the inductee will be selected by a panel of six judges composed of representatives from each geographic area of Charlotte County as well as regional and state tourism organizations. 

The Charlotte County Tourism Hall of Fame is in the Charlotte County Administration Building at 18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. Previous inductees are Becky Bovell (2014), Capt. Marian Schneider (2015) and Capt. Ralph Allen (2016).

Members of the tourism industry are invited to attend the luncheon being held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 12 at the Englewood Event Center (3069 S McCall Rd., Englewood, Fla.). The fee to attend is $22. 

Radio personality Chris Kelly, who after 18 years on the radio in Texas, Arizona and Colorado chose Southwest Florida to re-locate and launch a marketing and event production firm, will serve as the lunch’s emcee. 

Cost to attend the May 12 lunch is $22 per person. Members of the tourism industry are invited to attend and can do so by registering online at 2017tourismluncheon.eventbrite.com or by calling (941) 743-1900 no later than May 9, 2017. All tickets are general admission and there is no assigned seating. 

Keynote Speaker Maestro Raffaele Livio Ponti
Award-winning Italian – American Conductor Raffaele Livio Ponti is an artist of dynamic personality, charismatic performances, and superb musicianship. His trademark is the breadth of his vision, the clarity of his interpretation, and the rich beauty of his sound. He has earned awards as well as praise from media outlets and concert-goers from across the country. He is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor of Florida’s Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Visiting Instructor in Orchestral Studies & Director of the FIU Symphony Orchestra at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Learn more about Maestro Raffaele Livio Ponti on his website. 

Annually, the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau conducts marketing, sales and promotional campaigns to increase awareness of and visitation to Charlotte County. In addition to generating economic contributions, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau is also focused on developing soft adventure or ecotourism, a low-impact industry enabling the county to preserve the invaluable natural resources that contribute to its ecological health, distinguish the area and draw visitors.

Images Available of Maestro Raffaele Livio Ponti:

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 (PDG) 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 http://PureFlorida.com or call1-800-652-6090.