We've got your to-do list ready for August
Press Releases
Written by Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau   
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 12:20 PM

It’s Aug. 1 and that means today we roll out the Lee County Cooperative Advertising Program for 2019-20. This is a great opportunity for industry partners to learn more about a variety of promotional opportunities that leverage great exposure at an exceptional value.

This preview gives everyone time to plan and budget for fiscal year 2019-20. The rollout will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Aug. 1, Lee County Administration East Building, 2201 Second St., Room 118, Fort Myers.

Co-op Advertising Programs include the following categories:

  • Digital media
  • Email marketing
  • International
  • Tradeshows and sales events
  • Traditional media
  • Travel trade
  • Social media
  • Website advertising

Social Media Boot Camp: After the rollout, please join us from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. for an interactive workshop where you can learn tips and tricks to make social media management easier. Click here for more information.

Co-op buy-in Aug. 20: This will open promptly at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, on a first-come, first-served basis. To guarantee your login information is functioning before the buy-in, please contact MMGY’s Elizabeth Escribano by noon Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 239-226-0095 or [email protected].

E Awards Aug. 29
A celebration of outstanding customer service, the 2019 Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards promises to once again make us all feel good about being in Lee County. Click here for more information

The E Awards will be from 8 to 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, 5951 Silver King Blvd., Cape Coral

Island Hopper Tap Takeover Aug. 29
Right around the corner is Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, Sept. 20-29. To get a preview of what’s to come on Captiva, downtown Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach, join us at the Island Hopper Tap Takeover Aug. 29, at Calusa Brewing in Sarasota.

Clint Daniels, co-writer of the No. 1 hit “Some of it”, and Sheena Brook will perform there at 7 p.m. Two of Lee County’s craft breweries, Fort Myers Brewing Company and Point Ybel Brewing Company, will be there, too, and we couldn’t be happier about this partnership.

Have a terrific month and we look forward to seeing you at the Aug. 8 Tourist Development Council meeting.  


VCB's Fran Belasco earns CDME designation

Congratulations to Fran Belasco (photo below), administrative director for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), for recently graduating from Destinations International’s (DI) executive program in destination management.
Belasco received the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation at the DI Annual Convention, July 23-25 in St. Louis, Mo. The program was established in 1993 and is recognized as the tourism industry’s highest educational achievement.
“These leaders have invested in their education and are now equipped with the knowledge needed to adapt to and manage the increasing change and competition facing our industry,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of DI.
“Fran’s commitment to the VCB, Lee County and our community as a whole shines through in everything she does,” said Cecil Pendergrass, Lee County commissioner and Tourist Development Council chairman. “We are very proud of this exceptional professional accomplishment.”
The CDME program prepares professionals to leverage their experience and apply their knowledge of destination management with a focus on vision, leadership, productivity and implementing business strategies.
Belasco joined the VCB in 2010. She manages the administration team and provides executive level administration and technical support
A 2011 graduate of Hodges University in Fort Myers, Belasco holds a master’s of science degree in management and human resources. She is also a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Belasco and her husband, Jim Belasco, live in Cape Coral.


Doggett earns Clerk of the Year award

Congratulations to Lee County Clerk Linda Doggett (photo below) for recently receiving the Clerk of the Year award from the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers, the statewide governing body of the state’s elected clerks and comptrollers.

Doggett received the award for her efforts to lead the development and maintenance of the association’s technology strategic plan. She represents Clerks on the Florida Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission and led efforts to provide new do-it-yourself systems to Floridians seeking court services.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by my colleagues for my efforts to enhance access to justice,” Clerk Doggett said. “However, the true honor is being able to make a positive difference in the lives of the citizens of Lee County and the whole State of Florida.”


Classes continue through September, so sign up today

The success of the Guests First program continues as we currently have 813 Certified Guest Service Professionals (CGSP) in Lee County. 

What is Guests First? It is a free educational program for Lee County hospitality employees that offers customer service skills training to front-line and management professionals. Think the golden rule. 

The history - In 2013, the VCB began partnering with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, recognized as one of the preeminent leaders in hospitality certifications which includes the CGSP program.

Our summer schedule is posted and if you have an interest in hosting Guests First at your business, please reach out to the Guests First team. As a host property you get reserved seating for your team and the opportunity to market your business.

Questions? Email [email protected] or call 239-338-3500 and ask for the Guests First team:

Jason Glasscock, CGSP, hospitality training coordinator


Team Tourism summer lecture series at Sanibel Harbour Marriott

The 2019 Team Tourism Summer Lecture Series, presented by the VCB, provides free educational sessions about relevant topics to industry partners.

All workshops are free and will be held at Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, 17260 Harbour Pointe Drive, Fort Myers.

RSVP to Lecture Series Registration at leevcb.com. For more information, email [email protected] or call 239-590-4855.

International market today
Presenter: Stefanie Zinke, VCB international sales manager, and panel of experts 
When: 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13
Participate in a discussion geared toward the latest international travel trends and a look-ahead into 2020.

Working with guests with disabilities
Presenters: Kevin Berry, owner, ADA Consulting of SWFL; Michael Pierce and guide dog Addy, advocate, Center for Independent Living Gulf Coast; Alicia Miller, executive director, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center; Mike Brust, certified orientation & mobility specialist, Lighthouse of SWFL; Debbie Quimby and David Massey, emergency management coordinators, Lee County Emergency Operations Center, Special Needs.
When: 9-11 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 12
This session includes interactive demonstrations and discussions with a panel of American Disabilities Act experts who will give industry partners tools to provide positive guest experiences to people with disabilities. 

August-September VCB travel schedule

Upcoming sales, marketing trips, media missions, press trips and familiarization tours, aka FAMs.

July 29-Aug 2: Florida Travel Marketing (FTM), travel agent sales calls, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Aug. 5-9: FTM, travel agent sales calls, Boston
Aug. 12-16: FTM, travel agent sales calls, Philadelphia
Aug. 18-20: Erin Congregane, Smart Meeting National 3-Day, Marco Island
Aug. 19-21: Jackie Parker, Ohio media mission
Aug. 20-22: Jerry Terp, Minnesota Twins client event and sales calls, Minneapolis
Aug. 22-26: FTM, Southern Women’s Show, Charlotte
Aug. 26-28: Betsy Bush & Erin Congregane, Connect Association & Corporate, Louisville, Ky.
Aug. 26-30: FTM, travel agent sales calls, Charlotte, Greensboro & Raleigh, N.C.

Sept. 4-6: Betsy Bush and Francesca Donlan, Red Sox client event and sales calls, Boston
Sept. 4-6: Candice Cocco, Going on Faith Conference, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Sept. 4-6: Jerry Terp, Destination Celebration, Indianapolis
Sept. 4-6: Stefanie Zinke, La Cita de las Americas, Kissimmee
Sept. 9-11: Francesca Donlan, Miriam Dotson, Philadelphia media mission
Sept. 9-12: Jerry Terp, IMEX America, Las Vegas
Sept. 9-13: Stefanie Zinke, Brand USA Travel Week, London, England
Sept. 9-13: FTM, travel agent sales calls, Detroit
Sept. 14-16: FTM, AAA Louisville Vacation Expo, Louisville, Ky.
Sept. 21-22: Jennifer Walla, Delta University, Detroit
Sept. 23-27: FTM, travel agent sales calls, Cleveland
Sept. 25-30: FTM, Southern Women’s Show, Orlando