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June 2021 VCB Newsletter

Telegraph Creek Preserve, Alva

From the bureau

Prepare for hurricane season, accessible travel

As we welcome a busy June, there are a couple of important workshops you will not want to miss.

Today is the first day of hurricane season which runs through Nov. 30. It’s time to update our plans as the 2021 season is predicted to be active. Please join us for an hour packed with useful information and time for your questions at the virtual VCB Annual Tourism Hurricane Workshop from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., Wednesday, June 2. Register here and if you have questions, contact the VCB’s Pam Brown or call 239-533-6709.

Join us in person or virtually for The Business of Accessible Travel, Opportunities & Benefits workshop from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 23 at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center in downtown Fort Myers. It’s an important topic for our destination: providing a positive guest experience for our visitors with disabilities. We hope our industry partners will join us as we welcome renowned travel writer and advocate John Morris of to discuss how to provide a positive guest experience for people with disabilities.

It’s worth noting that about 20% of Americans have some form of disability and 63% are connected to someone who does. This workshop will help accommodations, attractions, restaurants and other tourism industry businesses gain knowledge and tools to compete for the more than $17 billion spent each year on business and leisure travel by people with disabilities. 

The workshop will include a Q&A session giving you the opportunity to ask Morris questions directly affecting your place of business. Register here for the workshop.

Have a great month as we head into summer beginning June 20, the same day as National Seashell Day!

Executive Director


Industry Partner News

Former psychology professor finds unexpected passion as Sanibel housekeeper

Former psychology professor finds unexpected passion as Sanibel housekeeper

Dilya Gabdrkhmanova didn’t expect to find a new passion in life when she took a job as a housekeeper at the Beachview Cottages on Sanibel Island.

Lee County News

VCB partners with National Restaurant Association to offer free and discounted hospitality training

National Restaurant Association

The VCB's newest partnership with the National Restaurant Association gives our community partners the opportunity to receive free Covid-19 training for restaurants and hotels and 20% discount on training certifications, including ServSafe manager, food handler, alcohol and more.  

If you have any questions, please contact Nicole King-Smith, VCB tourism education manager, at 239-338-3500.

E Awards

Get your deals included on the Sun Saver Passport

Partners, please remember to add your deals on attractions, restaurants and experiences throughout our community. The Sun Saver Passport is available via mobile phones.

Sun Saver Passport by the numbers:

  • 70 partner deals
  • 4,648 passport downloads
  • 329 offers redeemed



Domestic sales activities

Rotating photos include:

  • April 13: Travalliance Travel Pulse Webinar, Jennifer Walla, VCB, conducted a detailed destination education presentation. About 1,200 travel agents registered for the live event.
  • April 15: Expedia TAAP Training, Jennifer Walla, VCB, educated 134 Expedia agents on what our destination can offer their clients.
  • April 21: Northstar Meetings Diversity Now Live Webinar, Erin Lester, VCB, began the webinar with a presentation on meetings in our destination. There were 475 meeting planners registered for the live event. 
Virtual meeting planner shows attended
May 5: GPS Impactful Events Southeast, Erin Lester

May 6: GPS Impactful Events Financial & Insurance Markets, Jerry Terp
May 10-13: Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (GMITE) 2021, Betsy Bush & Jerry Terp
May 17-19: HelmsBriscoe FAM, Erin Lester
May 17-20: Florida East Coast Virtual Travel Agent Sales Mission, Jennifer Walla &
Shelley Crant
May 25: ABA Marketplace OnDemand, Candice Cocco
Upcoming virtual shows
June 2:
GPS Impactful Events Spotlight Florida, Virtual, Erin Lester

June 8: ABA Marketplace OnDemand, Virtual, Candice Cocco
June 28-30: HelmsBriscoe ABC, Dallas, Jerry Terp & Betsy Bush
June 29-July 1: FSAE Annual Conference, Orlando, Erin Lester

International sales activities

Rotating photos include:

  • April 29-30: FVW Counter Days - Germany with Stefanie Zinke, VCB, and Nadia Bourgault, GCE, attending the virtual show that included 2,900 attendees. The team had 550 visits and more than 1,250 chat messages. 
  • May 4: Stefanie Zinke, VCB, and UK contractors record an hour-long podcast with Fairytale Holidays UK by Travel Counsellors.
  • May 6: Stefanie Zinke, VCB, along with Visit Tampa Bay and St. Pete Clearwater, participate in a webinar panel discussion with Central de Recptivos tour operators and provide insights for 168 travel agents in Spanish-speaking markets.

June activities
June (multiple dates): Consortia Webinar Series
June 7: Visit USA Virtual Roadshow Germany
June 21: Virtual VISIT FLORIDA Sales Mission Germany

Visiting journalists

Rotating photos include:

April 27-29: Instagram post by writer Charlene Peters of Gannett, Sante magazine and Haute Living San Francisco magazine. She also experienced the destination with her dog Freddie.

May 11-14: Journalists Lina Zeldovich, Outside magazine, and Eric Pickhartz, Wide Open Spaces, were part of the Hooked on Tarpon team at the 9th annual Doc Ford's & "Ding" Darling Tarpon Tournament. The writers also explored the destination by land with Miriam Dotson, VCB. Tournament photo by Chris Tilley.

May 7: Red Tricycle (impressions: 1,572,434)
15 must-try adventures in the Sunshine State

  • Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
  • Captiva Island
  • Sanibel Island

May 10: TripSavvy (2,090,295)
The best park in every state

  • Captiva Cruises
  • Captiva Island
  • Cayo Costa State Park
  • Sanibel Island

May 10: Men’s Journal (3,466,849)
35 books every man should read in his lifetime

  • Captiva Island
  • Gift from the Sea

May 11: (2,400)
8 cool outdoor adventures in Florida that aren’t on a beach

  • Bailey’s General Store
  • Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
  • J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge
  • Luminary Hotel & Co.
  • Sanibel Historical Museum & Village
  • Sanibel Island

May 17: PureWow (1,128,004)
The 10 most beautiful places in Florida

  • Sanibel Island

May 17: U.S. News & World Report (15,020,000) & MSN (67,151,557) (syndicated)
50 Cheap Tropical Vacations to Take This Year

  • Blind Pass Beach
  • Bowman’s Beach
  • Captiva Island
  • Sanibel Island
  • Sanibel Lighthouse

May 18: PureWow (1,128,004) & Yahoo Life (149,324,782) & News Break (7,611,036)
The 20 Best East Coast Beaches from Maine to Florida

  • Bowman’s Beach
  • Sanibel Island
  • Song of the Sea
  • Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

May 19: Country Living (3,578,761) & MSN (67,151,557) & Yahoo Life (149,324,782) (syndicated)
15 Cutest Seaside Towns in the South

  • Blind Pass Beach
  • Captiva Island
  • Sanibel Island

May 20: Travel + Leisure (2,005,222)
The Most Charming Small Towns in Florida

  • Sanibel Island
Tourist Development Council

June TDC Meeting

Tourist Development Council (TDC) meetings are held at the Lee County Admin East Building, 2201 Second St., Room 118, Fort Myers.

When: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 10
Agenda: Available one week before meeting 
Wear a mask: To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we respectfully ask that all attendees follow CDC guidelines including wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.
Watch live: Lee TV

2021 TDC Meeting dates

2 p.m. THURSDAY, AUG. 12
9 a.m. THURSDAY, OCT. 14
9 a.m. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 10
9 a.m. THURSDAY, DEC. 9
Save the date

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association luncheon June 17

FRLA June 17 business luncheon

Join the Lee Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), in partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, for its June Legislative and Hospitality Industry Luncheon. 

Guest speakers will be Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA executive director, and Samantha Padgett, FRLA general counsel.

When: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17

Where: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, 1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island

Registration deadline: Friday, June 11

Contact: Lois Croft, 239-339-7692 or


Florida Attractions Association 2021 Annual Conference

Florida Attractions Association

Attractions professionals across Florida will meet in Fort Myers for the Florida Attractions Association 2021 Annual Conference. Join industry colleagues for three days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables and professional networking.

When: Aug. 29-Sept. 1
Where: Luminary Hotel & Co. 

Red tide resources


Lee County water quality resources
Lee County VCB beach updates
Red tide fact sheet


Florida Wildlife Commission daily red tide sample map
Red tide respiratory forecast tool
Chambers of Commerce

Boca Grande
Cape Coral
East Lee County
Fort Myers Beach


Greater Fort Myers
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North Fort Myers
Sanibel & Captiva Islands

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Logo with Website

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

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