Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Tourism Promotion Pays Off

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Tourism Promotion Pays Off

Article excerpt

Sarasota and Manatee reap benefits of a diversified message

Balmy weather, beautiful beaches and visitors with bucks to spend have long been the been the benchmarks for successful tourist seasons.

This season, the weather has been pleasantly warm and dry, Siesta Beach has been ranked the best beach in the world and visitors have expressed rising confidence in economic recovery.

Those vital factors have resulted in substantially higher tax collections related to tourism, rising room-occupancy rates and increased attendance at local attractions.

All good.

The weather and the national economy cannot be controlled by local and regional tourism promoters and their funders. Local governments can keep beaches clean and provide access to them, but nature and geography are responsible for the gorgeous stretches of sandy shoreline.

Tourism promoters, local governments, economic-development groups, the private sector and nonprofit public institutions can, however, provide -- and support -- the amenities that allow a community to compete successfully with other parts of Florida (and the world) that also have attractive beaches and climates.

'Go beyond the beaches'

Both Manatee and Sarasota counties -- particularly Sarasota -- have in recent years made conscious efforts to create, support and promote our region as a destination with a complete package for tourists. These efforts have paid off, the recent numbers suggest -- not only for hotels, seasonal rentals and restaurants, but for arts organizations, museums and sports facilities.

As John Hielscher and Doug Sword have reported in the Herald- Tribune, attendance at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Mote Marine Laboratory have increased dramatically this tourist season. Other attractions reported positive results. …

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