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Lee County Visitor, Convention Bureau up for awards

By Staff | Jul 9, 2009

The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau has been nominated for several statewide awards for its marketing efforts.
The 2009 Flagler Awards, named after Florida railroad and real estate pioneer Henry Flagler, recognizes tourism marketing achievements of the state’s numerous travel businesses, destinations and attractions.
There were more than 100 entries this year.
There are 19 entities competing this year, with the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau a finalist in four categories: resource/promotional material, Web sites, Internet marketing and outdoor campaigns.
“We’re always grateful when an organization acknowledges the bureau’s marketing efforts,” said Suya Davenport, bureau director. “It’s a big compliment and tremendous honor.”
The finalists range from local government-funded organizations similar to the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau, to smaller attractions such as the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurants with five statewide locations.
Last year, the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau received seven finalist awards and one “Henry” award, which is the program’s top honor.
Davenport said the recognition is especially helpful during the lean economic times, as the bureau is battling for dollars. With so many destinations in Florida and fewer dollars being spent, attracting tourists has become more difficult.
“Everybody is vying for that same consumer,” Davenport said. “Everybody (in Florida) becomes competition because people are looking for value and a unique experience. We’re trying our best to get in front of the consumer’s face and get that brand recognition.”
All finalists will be recognized during the 2009 Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism on Aug. 23-24 at the Fontainbleau Miami Beach.
Besides the Henry award, a Best of Show award will be presented in three annual marketing budget categories: under $100,000, from $100,000 to $1 million, and more than $1 million.
The Flagler Awards are part of VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the state.
For more information, visit: www.visitflorida.org or fortmyers-sanibel.com.