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May 8, 2023
Ray Sarracino, Jackie Parker, Miriam Dotson 239-338-3500

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau celebrates travel during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of annual industry celebration

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the annual celebration of the contributions made by the U.S. travel industry, highlights the essential role that travel plays in driving economic growth and innovation.

Locally, the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) will focus on how travel impacts the county during the 40th anniversary of NTTW, May 7-13. The week’s theme is #TravelForward.

The VCB’s celebration plans include:

“Travel is at the heart of our community, creating jobs and strengthening our culture and identity,” said Brian Hamman, Lee County Commissioner and Tourist Development Council chairman. “This National Travel and Tourism Week, we are proud to celebrate all that travel does for our community now and what it will contribute in the future.”

Travel serves as a catalyst for a strong economy and helps power the success of many other industries. Travel spending generated nearly $160 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2022. The U.S. travel industry generated a $2.6 trillion economic output in 2022 and supported 15 million jobs, fueling communities, small businesses and working families across the country.

Lee County’s role in local tourism:

  • In Lee County, tourism generated $6.6 billion in economic impact in 2022, supporting over 73,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in wages and salaries. Research indicates that annual visitor spending in Lee County saves local residents $2,176 per household in state and local taxes. See the 2022 Lee County tourism highlights.
  • Tourist Development Council (TDC) Funding Programs: The VCB supports tourism product development through three funding programs – Beach & Shoreline, Events Marketing and Arts & Attractions Marketing.
    • Arts & Attractions Marketing Program: Since 2004, the TDC has provided financial assistance to not-for-profit arts and attractions organizations to strengthen awareness of local arts and cultural venues in Lee County. To date, $7.3 million has been allocated to the program. The goal of the program is to enhance the visitor experience and encourage repeat visitations through advertising promotions and the creative dissemination of information regarding unique art and cultural experiences. The application cycle for fiscal year 2023-24 Attractions Marketing Funding opens on May 17.
    • Beach & Shoreline Funding Program: This program provides direct benefit to visitors and residents alike, with the goal of promoting tourism while preserving and enhancing the destination’s beaches and shoreline. Since 1990, more than $187 million has been allocated to a variety of countywide projects related to beach maintenance, beach renourishment and beach park facility development.
    • Events Marketing Program: The events marketing program provides reimbursable funding assistance for out-of-market advertising and promotional efforts to not-for-profit organizations with the goal of generating additional room-night stays in Lee County accommodations. To date, $3.1 million has been allocated to the program.
  • Visitor Services Tourism Ambassadors
    • Visitor Services encompasses community and volunteer relations efforts to provide a positive tourism experience to visitors and residents throughout the destination. The VCB’s Tourism Ambassadors are volunteers who assist travelers with tourism information and guidance, provide tourism education outreach to industry partners and support Value of Tourism initiatives throughout the community. Learn more out our Tourism Ambassador program.
  • Guests First Customer Service Training Program
    • Guests First is a free educational program for Lee County hospitality employees that offers customer service training to front-line and management professionals. Upon completion, participants have gained tools to provide excellent customer service to visitors and residents, as well as earn their Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP) credentials. With currently over 1,000 CGSPs and counting, this program enhances our local workforce. Sign up for the summer session today
  • Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards (E Awards)
    • The VCB hosts the Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards (E Awards) annually to honor local tourism professionals and their extraordinary customer service and dedication. If you have experienced customer service professionals who have made your experience as a resident more rewarding, or you work with colleagues who have gone “above and beyond” what was expected for your customers, nominate them today.

Visit to learn more about National Travel and Tourism Week and to learn what the VCB is doing locally for the tourism industry.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Fort Myers - Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods include: Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Matlacha, Boca Grande & Outer Islands, North Fort Myers, Alva, Buckingham and Lehigh Acres. For more information, go to


Visit our website www.VisitFortMyers to learn more!

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