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From 2022: Cape Coral's Red, White and Boom Fourth of July celebration

We want your deals for Island Hopper Songwriter Fest

We are getting ready for Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, Sept. 22-Oct. 1, and have some great ways for industry partners to participate.

Include your deal today and get free business exposure. Your business – and deal – will be featured on, and the official Island Hopper app.

  • Submit resorts, hotels and vacation rental deals here
  • Got a discount deal that falls into the Dine, Play, Shop or Sip categories? Add your deal here

Last year, the Island Hopper website received over 106,000 views and the mobile app had more than 2,530 users and accounted for approximately 170,000 screen views. This is a great opportunity during late summer/early fall to help increase revenue.

About Island Hopper
New this year – Island Hopper welcomes the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village and Tarpon Point Marina to the lineup.

The four locations and dates for the 10-day, award-winning festival include:

  • Captiva Island, Sept. 22-24
  • Cape Coral, Sept. 25-26
  • Downtown Fort Myers, Sept. 27-28
  • Fort Myers Beach, Sept. 29-Oct. 1

Multiple Academy of Country Music Award winner Chris Janson will perform at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina pool party on Fort Myers Beach, Sunday, Oct. 1. Janson made his mark as a songwriter, penning Tim McGraw’s 2012 hit “Truck Yeah.” In 2015, his album “Buy Me a Boat” had hits with “Power of Positive Drinkin’,” “Holdin’ Her,” and the title track.

A master collaborator, Janson recently brought Dolly Parton and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash together for his new single “21 Forever.” The song appears on the new “The Outlaw Side of Me.”

While most shows are free, this year’s Island Hopper will offer more ways to enjoy unique, ticketed live performances, including:

  • Sunset cruises
  • Chef’s dinner and wine pairing
  • Music on the Mound at Mound House on Fort Myers Beach
  • Voluntourism experience - Beach cleanup at Bowditch Point Park

For the full lineup and ticket information, visit or download the Island Hopper app.

Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is presented by BMI, iHeart Radio’s Cat Country 107.1 FM and Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods.

Save the dates: Co-op Advertising Program rollout
The VCB's co-op program serves as an opportunity for Lee County businesses, such as attractions, tours, hoteliers, restaurants and others, to increase awareness while driving an incredibly qualified audience through a variety of the VCB's marketing and sales placements.

The Lee County Cooperative Advertising Program rollout for 2023-24 includes a few key dates:

Aug. 3: Official Co-op rollout 2-4:30 p.m., Admin East Building, Room 118, 2201 Second St., Fort Myers.

Aug. 17: Co-op program opens for industry orders.

This rollout meeting is a great opportunity for accommodation and attraction partners to learn about a variety of marketing opportunities that leverage great exposure at an exceptional value. We will have more registration information soon and look forward to seeing you there.

There will be no July Tourist Development Council meeting. The next TDC meeting will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 10.

Enjoy the Fourth of July and thank you for all you do!

Executive Director


Lee County News

Information for hurricane preparedness

We appreciate those partners who were able to attend the 2023 Lee County VCB Annual Hurricane Tourism Industry Workshop at the Lee County Emergency Operations Center on June 5.

Presentation links: 

Also, if you do not currently have access to the Simpleview Extranet please contact Pam Brown or Erin Junkin. We will get you connected as soon as possible. 

It is important to access and update your information regarding emergency contacts through Simpleview Extranet for your business and generator availability. This is very important to the VCB Team who will be staffed at the Emergency Operations Center during an activation. The team receives many requests for sleeping rooms, dining, parking areas for vehicles/trailers and other unique requests.

Threshold 360 offers free filming of your business

Take advantage of Threshold 360's free filming of your business. In partnership with the VCB, Threshold 360's videos can be used to promote your business in the following ways:

  • Uploaded to your Google My Business page
  • Sent to potential visitors and clients
  • Used in presentations or group proposals
  • Added to your listing on


NBC 6 Miami's "6 in the Mix" features destination

The VCB's Miriam Dotson promotes the destination on NBC 6 in Miami. The midday show "6 in the Mix" was a paid placement in a strong drive market. 

July paid media placements

As we persist through recovery phase three (April-September), we continue to invest and launch various media placements to help influence late summer and fall leisure visitation, as well as support the groups/meeting business. Here is a snapshot of our paid media placements launching in July.


  • DotDash Meredith – Southern Living native content
  • Garden & Gun – custom quiz
  • Pandora audio
  • Priceline – display
  • The Local Palate – custom content
  • TripAdvisor – display AV

Meetings, weddings, travel trade:

  • Bridal Guide – full page print ad and advertorial, branded sub-channel and custom content series
  • Corporate & Incentive Travel – email
  • Florida Trend – print
  • Florida Society of Association Executives – print
  • Northstar Meetings Group – print
  • TravelDesk – display, native
  • VAX – display and featured content


  • Expedia – display in Germany
  • Sojern – display in Germany and UK
  • TripAdvisor – display in UK

'The Travel Detective' Fort Myers episode available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg reports on the rebuilding efforts in Fort Myers on an episode of "The Travel Detective." Wendy Schnapp, owner of Tarpon Bay Explorers, was one of the many industry partners Greenberg interviewed. The episode airs July 8 on Chicago PBS station WTTW and is available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.

Sun Saver has launched  get your FREE pass now

The VCB is excited to share the relaunch of the Sun Saver Passport, a collection of mobile-exclusive discounts for visitors and locals to enjoy throughout the destination. 

Sun Saver provides instant access to a variety of deals and experiences from area attractions, restaurants, and more across four categories – Dine, Play, Shop and Sip.  

There is no app to download and signup is simple and 100% free for both users and industry partners. Passports are instantly delivered to phones via text and email. Sign up now to start saving!

If you are a business owner and would like your business to be included in this fun digital savings pass, please contact the VCB's Vanessa Gomez at


Reopening of SanCap Chamber of Commerce visitor center

The Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce reopened its visitor center on June 6. If you're an industry partner and would like to be considered for a VCB Partner Spotlight, please contact Miriam Dotson, VCB communications manager, at

Guests First training

Rotating photos include:

  • (Photos 1-2) Guests First Training, June 14: Dr. Nicole King-Smith and Crystal Wanke, VCB, kicked off the summer Guests First Customer Service Training Program hosted by the new Crowne Plaza Fort Myers Gulf Coast.   
  • (Photo 3) Camp Pineapple, June 12: The Guests First Team facilitated the Value of Tourism & Customer Service Workshop at Florida Gulf Coast University to 40 students interested in careers in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Domestic sales activities

Rotating photos include:

  • (Photos 1-2) HelmsBriscoe Annual Business Conference and Client Event, May 3-5: Jerry Terp and Betsy Bush, VCB, with meeting planners at the reverse trade show and at their client event with Sandra Keneven, The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village. About 1,300 HelmsBriscoe meeting planners attended the conference and over 25 attended our client event, co-hosted with the Westin.
  • (Photos 3-4) Prestige Annual Partner Meeting, May 9-12: Jerry Terp, VCB, with Prestige Global Meeting Source meeting planners at networking events. Over 40 meeting planners attended the event.

  • (Photos 5-6) East Coast Florida Travel Agency Sales Mission and Client Event, May 16-18: (Left to right) Lucie Wirgin, Holiday Inn Express Fort Myers Airport; Dony Rosa Rivera, Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina; Alexandria Edwards, Edison and Ford Winter Estates; Jennifer Walla, VCB; Megan Dunphy,  Luminary Hotel & Co.; and Susan Cere, The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, before the client event. Edwards and Wirgin with a travel advisor during a sales call.

International sales activity

Jeanette Faria, VoX, and Charm Evans, VCB, visit travel trade in Toronto, June 21.




July sales events

Travel journalists in-destination

June 5-9: Fishing and outdoor writer Glenn Zinkus with Ray Sarracino, VCB, at Tarpon Lodge.

June 17-19: German social media influencer Raquel Santos and Sonja Funke at Edison and Ford Winter Estates. 

June 23-26: Julie Thompson and Peter Ellegard, a UK-based travel journalist, at The 86 Room in downtown Fort Myers. 

Communications update

'CBS Sunday Morning' features J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island received exceptional coverage on "CBS Sunday Morning’s" “Moment in Nature.” The Lee County VCB secured coverage by enlisting videographer Charles Schultz, who expertly captured how nature is on the mend. A bobcat, osprey, green heron, anhinga, ibis, baby birds hatching, even an alligator, all made their TV debut. The June 4 segment aired across 55 TV markets, resulting in over 2 million viewers and over 240 million online.

Visitor Services celebrates National Seashell Day

Theresa the Dolphin and Rosalie the Manatee had a blast shellabrating National Seashell Day on June 21 at RSW, with the help of Tourism Ambassadors Jim and Susan Barnett (in third photo). National Seashell Day marks the first day of summer and was established by the VCB in 2016.

Courtyard honors local GM with two top awards

Congratulations to John Mesarsos for being named General Manager of the Year and Diamond General Manager of the Year by Courtyard by Marriott. The GM of the Year award had 1,200 nominees.

Mesaros is the GM at Courtyard by Marriott Fort Myers at I-75 and Gulf Coast Town Center.

RSW joins The Sunflower Program

The Sunflower Program, now in nearly 200 airports worldwide, allows travelers to discreetly let others know they have a non-visible disability. 

The sunflower symbol, printed on a lanyard, badge, hat, bracelet or other branded item, indicates that a person may need more assistance and patience is appreciated.

Along with Port Authority staff, the VCB's Visitor Services Tourism Ambassadors have been trained in this initiative and will help inform the traveling public at RSW about the Sunflower Program. Lanyards are available at the airport's visitor information booths. 


Reminder: E Awards nomination deadline is July 14

Chambers of Commerce

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

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