April 28, 2020

Dear Industry Partners,

National Travel and Tourism Week has become a beloved tradition for the travel community – an annual celebration of the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being. As our industry works to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s perhaps no better time for National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9), now in its 37th year – an opportune moment to unite the industry, celebrate its indomitable spirit and elevate the role it will play in America’s employment recovery.

As we busily plan for the resurgence of Charlotte County tourism, let us draw inspiration in the “Spirit of Travel,” this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week theme, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of our travel community. Now more than ever, the travel and tourism industry must come together, support each other and remind our country that even through the most difficult times, the Spirit of Travel cannot be broken.

With National Travel and Tourism Week kicking off on Sunday, May 3, now is the perfect time to show everyone how much we love and support Charlotte County hospitality businesses by purchasing one of our Greetings from Pure Florida t-shirts, posting a picture of yourself wearing the t-shirt to social media, and noting one local business or thing you love most within Charlotte County, using the hashtag #BestSideYourSide and tagging us at @RealPureFlorida. Here’s just a snapshot of the wonderful photos and beautiful words you’ve all used to showcase our limited edition Pure Florida t-shirts and what you love most about our cherished Charlotte County.

We’re heartened to share that to-date, more than 577+ t-shirts have been sold, with all earnings going directly toward the Community Organizations Active In Disaster Florida (COADFL) fund for Charlotte County, providing much needed support for tourism industry employees and businesses in our area impacted by the recent shutdowns.

In addition, if you are a tourism partner who has not done so already, we strongly encourage you to take a moment out of your day to update or add your listing to our website at PureFlorida.com. We know several area restaurants or businesses are looking to re-open in the coming days and it would be great to get your information to us now so we can promote your business and its offerings/new hours of operation as soon as that time comes. Restaurant partners should use the form here, and retail/attraction partners can use the form here.

In other news, to break up your (likely monotonous) morning, we thought we’d share some new, creative ways to stay busy, with industry-specific opportunities for extended learning while keeping a safe distance in your own home:

Florida Gulf Coast University is launching a series of virtual panel presentations and discussions for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and nonprofit organizations. Tune in this Thursday and Friday from 12 – 1 p.m. for updates surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic and related information regarding the effects, implications, and issues affecting SMEs and nonprofits. Participation is limited with registration available only on a first come first serve basis. Reserve your spot today.

Looking for ways to accelerate your career while working from home? Check out Cvent Academy. During this global crisis, Cvent is offering free certifications for event professionals, hospitality professionals, and students at no cost through May 31. Becoming Cvent certified is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and proficiency in leveraging the Cvent platform to employers and colleagues. See what variety of certifications may suit you and start your journey to Cvent certification today.

Communities are important – they help us learn, grow, share and most importantly connect – which is especially important during these difficult times. But creating great communities that serve this purpose, or any purpose, can be difficult to perfect, even for the seasoned Community Manager or enterprise organization: That’s why you’ll want to mark your calendar for Vanilla Forum’s free 3 day Community Manager Online Expo May 19-21 where you’ll hear from nearly 30 speakers on all things that matter in the community space. All this great content and community expertise is free of charge – Learn more and sign up now to receive your personal attendance link and updates about speakers and schedule.

Additional Resources:

· The hotel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 global crisis. You’re home, dreaming of your future travels and want to know how you can help. We Travel Forward was created to give consumers a directory of hotel gift cards and special offers that can be purchased now and redeemed later. Through this initiative, consumers have the opportunity to support the hotels today that will be the future of our adventurous spirits. To find out how to submit your property, fill out their online form here.

· The Re-Open Florida Task Force launched a public comment submission portal open to all Floridians. Public feedback will be a critical component of the Task Force’s final report to Governor Ron DeSantis. All interested Floridians are encouraged to submit their ideas regarding the safe re-opening of Florida’s economy.

Floridians may submit feedback on any topic related to the re-opening of Florida’s economy, including the impacts to small businesses, healthcare, education, tourism, agriculture, retail, recreation and sports and construction. Click here to access the online Task Force to Re-Open Florida Public Comment Submission Form.

Previous Task Force meeting agendas and presentations are provided online at flgov.com/COVID-19.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with some very important news that the small business loan program has resumed and as of yesterday has re-begun accepting PPP loan applications for businesses affected by the pandemic. Don’t miss out on your opportunity for funding. In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Click this link to explore all funding options.


Wendie Vestfall

Tourism Development Director