To the Editor:
This week the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau announced that Charlotte County tourist development tax revenues collected during November 2018 totaled $198,701. This reflects a 4.8 percent increase over November 2017’s collections of $189,539. October 2018’s collections were up 6.3 percent over October 2017’s collections.
“Although red tide was patchy in Charlotte County’s coastal areas during November, we continued marketing areas not affected by the harmful algal bloom,” said Sean Doherty, interim tourism director of the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau. He added, “As the weather cools up north, visitation typically increases in Southwest Florida beginning in November. The Tourism Bureau supported and/or facilitated several events which brought in overnight visitors, such as the beginning of the AAU Pickleball National Championship, Big Orange Music Festival, Englewood Beach WaterFest, Mind Abair’s Punta Gorda Wine & Music Festival, and Prostyle Baseball Sunshine Classic.”
Commissioned research conducted by Downs & St. German Research of Tallahassee estimated overnight attendees of Englewood Beach WaterFest stayed 7.8 nights in Charlotte County and occupied 6,930 room nights in local accommodations.
Charlotte County levies a 5 percent tourist development tax on accommodation stays of 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 fiscal year 2017-2018 (Oct. 1 – Sept. 30), TDT collections totaled more than $4.1 million. 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. Visit AdventureAndWildlife.com to view the destination’s outdoor adventure series called Adventure and Wildlife, hosted by the Shark Brothers. Learn more about Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach by visiting PureFlorida.com.
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 call 1-800-652-6090.
Tourism Public Relations ManagerPunta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau