PUNTA GORDA/ENGLEWOOD BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2019) – The Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau is pleased to announce the hiring of Ms. Wendie Vestfall as the organization’s Tourism Development Director. Ms. Vestfall will carry forward the Bureau’s work of promoting tourism to Charlotte County, Fla. Her first day was Feb. 20, 2019.  

“My affection for the area stems from having visited family that has lived in the region for years. There is nothing like the view of driving over the Gilchrist Bridge and seeing the beautiful harbor,” Ms. Vestfall said, “I love how Charlotte County offers visitors a variety of things to do. They can enjoy various outdoor activities, popular festivals, great shopping, delicious dining, hunting for fossilized shark teeth on Englewood’s beaches, and admiring downtown Punta Gorda’s murals while pedaling a bicycle.” 

Prior to relocating to Charlotte County, Ms. Vestfall was the President of Kent County Tourism in Dover, Del. During her tenure, she led the creation of the destination’s brand called “Delaware’s Quaint Villages.” The new brand led to a 9 percent increase in Tourism Tax in 2018. In its first year, the brand campaign created an economic impact for the region of $14.3 million. 

She previously worked as the Marketing & Communications Director for Discover Prince William & Manassas, Va., and brings over 28 years of marketing and public relations experience including working in radio and the motion picture industry. Ms. Vestfall holds a B.A. in Business and Organizational Communications, PR/Marketing from the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she spent more than 18 years in the Washington, D.C. area before moving to Delaware. 

The Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau is Charlotte County’s Tourism Department. Charlotte County levies a 5 percent tourist development tax on accommodation stays 6 months or less, in addition to the 7 percent sales tax. The first 3 percent is spent for tourism promotion and marketing support and the fourth and fifth percent are used to fund the debt service on the bond for the renovations at the Charlotte Sports Park. 

During calendar year 2017, Charlotte County welcomed an estimated 422,500 visitors, tourism generated an estimated $380,841,400 in direct expenditures, and made an estimated $580,783,200  economic impact.

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 Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach 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. Learn more about Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach by visiting PureFlorida.com. 

ABOUT PUNTA GORDA / ENGLEWOOD BEACH
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 http://PureFlorida.com or call 1-800-652-6090.

Link to Ms. Wendie Vestfall’s Head Shot
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8ve21obfiu9p3sw/Wendie_Headshot.jpg?dl=0  
Credit: Wendie Vestfall