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Recap: 6/5 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call

Dear Industry Partners:

Thanks to those who joined today’s call. We will host a webinar at 9 a.m. Friday, June 12, to discuss the Visitor & Convention Bureau’s marketing recovery plan and consumer sentiment. Watch for an invitation with the details.

Here is the call summary: 

Jeff Mielke, Sports Development Executive Director, said June 19 will be the beginning of summer events, including Perfect Game. He said June 26-28 the USSSA Fastpitch States will bring in a large group of softball players. With an upcoming seniors softball USA event, they’re trying to determine if it is safe for them to play. All youth sports are a go right now. Sports Development has picked up summer sports events from other destinations that will help to fill in some three- and four-day holes on the schedule. Visit for more information.

John Talmage, Lee County Economic Development (EDO) Director, gave an update on the Lee County CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act federal stimulus package. Commissioner Ray Sandelli congratulated the team for their work and noted that the national unemployment rate dropped to 13.3% in May. Numerous county employees from various departments have been trained to assist with the CARES Act with processing and take phone calls. They have received over 5,000 applications from businesses for the relaunch grant program. There were 5,500 applications filed for the individual assistance program. The PPE distribution has gone well with day cares, medical providers and other high-contact businesses. United Way partner agencies have established child care scholarship programs with funds from the CARES Act. The $3 million allocated to food security organizations benefitting citizens in need includes: $1.55 million to Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida; $425,000 to Midwest Food Bank; $225,000 to Community Cooperative; $500,000 to Lee County food pantries through $5,000 individual grants; and $300,000 to reserves. The portal for individual assistance will be closed next week to get caught up. There has been even distribution of grants throughout the county. Exploring a buy local campaign. Focusing on how to help college students who need part-time jobs at FGCU, FSW and Hodges. Visit for more information.

Carol Obermeier, Lee County Port Authority, said Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is seeing some positive trends, nonstop service to 24 destinations by nine airlines.

Spirit will restart its Atlantic City flight four times a week and increase to daily July 4.  On June 26, Detroit flights will restart three times a week and go daily July 4. Newark restarts June 25, and will go to three flights weekly and go daily July 4. Chicago O'Hare is currently operating for Spirit at three flights a week, will increase to five flights on June 11, then daily July 3.

Frontier’s Chicago O’Hare flights resume July 2, four times a week. The Islip flight resumes June 27, four times a week. New markets include Boston with flights four times a week, starting July 3, and Newark flights three times a week, starting July 2.

Sun Country is very pleased with the Minneapolis flight performance and Obermeier and team have been in discussions with them for additional markets.

Southwest said last week they continue to see passenger demand slowly increase versus April and even May, which is a positive sign of recovery. Moving into the summer months, they expect passenger demand will continue to increase, despite being down significantly year over year. Their schedule has been released for November/December and it reflects an aggressive recovery strategy.

American Airlines will be adding summertime ramp up from Dallas and Charlotte that have seen modest bookings centered in Florida, the Gulf Coast and Rockies.

Lufthansa/Eurowings - With the current downturn in travel and the U.S. ban on international travel, Lufthansa is not expecting to recover to 2019 levels until 2023. Lufthansa has temporarily reduced its fleet to have supply/demand match flexibilities. A smaller Lufthansa will emerge in the near to medium term, due to economic downturn/demand conditions, and the German government taking a stake (25% or $10 billion U.S.) in Lufthansa that comes with slot concessions in Frankfurt and Munich. In other words, the German government is making Lufthansa give up slots in their two German hubs. Lufthansa is investigating consolidation of the three German hubs - Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich to two hubs, possibly moving long-haul Dusseldorf operations to Frankfurt. We remain engaged with Lufthansa /Eurowings network decision makers on a regular basis, by phone and email to discuss the returning of the nonstop RSW flights.

Spoke to Westjet Tuesday. They are not ready to announce or discuss any schedules to RSW until the ban has been lifted June 21.

Had a recent email from Air Canada - they are looking at fall or winter return.

TSA throughput yesterday was 4,010, down 68% from same time last year. The positive is that our TSA throughput numbers are growing.

April passenger numbers 53,379 compare to April 2019 of 1,100,000

She thanked the VCB and hotel properties for doing a fabulous job getting the message out about our beaches and destinations.

Tamara Pigott, VCB Executive Director, gave the STR Report for the week of May 24-30:
Occupancy 34.8%, down 44.3%
Avg. Daily Rate, $109.96, down 15.3%
RevPAR $38.24, down 52.8%

While all three factors are once again an improvement over the previous week, our occupancy and the percentage change on ADR are still lagging behind the other west coast counties.


Lee County:
 COVID-19 updatesbeach openingseconomic recovery resource portal and United Way 211 hotline

Lee County VCB: Virtual vacationat-home activitieseducation & resources, Zoom backgrounds

Lee County Human and Veteran Services: Verification of employment / Loss of income form

Lee Care hotline: 239-533-2273

Federal resource: Opening Up America Again

Island Hopper Songs from the Sofa: Save the date for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 11, and enjoy an Instagram live performance by singer/songwriter Jay Allen. This event will be great preview leading up to Island Hopper Songwriter Fest Sept. 18-27. Visit @islandhopperfest on Instagram to watch the archived first Songs from the Sofa event with Sam James.


Stay in touch and let us know if we can help. Visit for updates. Thank you for all you do. Have a safe weekend.

Tamara Pigott
Executive Director

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

2201 Second Street, Suite 600 | Fort Myers, Fl 33901
Toll Free 800.237.6444 | Local 239.338.3500

Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers
Bonita Springs
Cape Coral
Pine Island
Boca Grande & Outer Islands
North Fort Myers
Lehigh Acres

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau
2201 Second Street, Suite 600, Fort Myers, FL 33901, USA
phone: (239) 338-3500 | toll free: (800) 237-6444

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