After mingling with guests the Florida people took turns being interviewed by Lyndsay Reader, itravel 2000’s ‘Woman on the street.’
Maureen Wright, director of public relations for LMA Communications lead off the interviews confirming that 2011 was indeed a good year, with Florida attracting 3.3 million Canadians; a number only slightly below the whole European market. Wright attributed that to the strength of the Canadian dollar as well as the power of sunshine.Florida Keys and Key West
Christine Baez (Florida Keys news bureau) described the keys as a 120 pearl necklace of islands. The Overseas Highway traverses across the ocean from island to island across 42 bridges with spectacular water views on both sides.
Each of the keys is unique and offers family activities like swimming with dolphins as well as the world famous turtle hospital in Marathon where kids can get close to the endangered reptiles.
Dr Scott Ellesbury is the medical director of Florida Medical Retreat in Sarasota where they offer concierge medical services. With a staff of hand-picked orthopaedic and plastic surgeons among 13 physicians, they see Canada as their natural market. Canada clearly agrees, as 75% of the company’s clientele cross the border for specialty services.
Joel Kaiman, senior account executive TJM Communications gave two good reasons to visit the 115 km stretch of the Space Coast. It is the home of the Kennedy Space Center and the Cocoa Beach destination.
Then he gave another reason - the Tree Top Trek - an adventure taking visitors from tree to tree on tightropes, crab walks, jungle bridges, nets and zip line. The choices determine if your adventure is 60 cm off the ground or 12 metres.Greater Fort Lauderdale
Jessica Taylor, media relations director Greater Fort Lauderdale invited Canadians to the Venice of America, the city of intricate canal system. Activities celebrate the water culture and Jessica introduced us to bioluminescence.
Evening kayakers can enjoy their own organic light show where movement from the paddle will produce light from living organisms such as jellyfish and bacteria.
Daytime daredevils can don a jetpack and achieve flight up to nine metres off the water partaking in the RocketMan experience.
For those who want the adrenalin but want to stay in the boat, there is the Red Eye where evening airboat tours take you close to gators.
Hayworth Creative’s Katharina Brierton Lane represents five destinations/properties.Amelia Island
• Located on Florida’s northeast coast Amelia Island is synonymous with tranquility where one can go from unspoiled beaches with 12 metre sand dunes to spas that spoil and pamper.Plantation on Crystal River
• The only place in the world where divers can interact with Manatee in its own habitat, the city is dotted with waterfront restaurants and incredible seafood dining.Inn on the Fifth
• The resort with impeccable amenities is located on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in the heart of Naples where guests have 28 restaurant choices within walking distance of their accommodations.
Florida Signature Resorts
• With 1,400 luxury beachfront resort accommodations the Florida Signature Resorts extend from Key West north to Jupiter, and west to Lido Key and Longboat Key along Florida’s Gulf Coast. TradeWinds Island Resort
• Proving that luxury accommodations don’t have to preclude kids and pets, families will love the RedBeard Pirate Show every week at the TradeWinds “Pirate Island”. And a Pet Play Zone features doggie drinking fountains and other canine friendly amenities including fire hydrants. The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel
Lee County’s communications manager Lee Rose describes Fort Myers’ devotion to sustaining their natural riches; with laws that prevent the construction of buildings taller than palm trees and the illegality of taking live shells.
Sanibel Island is world renowned for its beaches and the wealth of shells that inspired a shell museum attracting visitors from around the world.
Sanibel Island’s sister, Captiva Island is eight kilometers of beachfront so guests are reminded to bring their sand bucket to catch shells deposited from the Gulf of Mexico.Orlando
Orlando’s representative in Canada, Anita Walker described 12 new attractions, only one of which was despicable; to be more specific, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, the new attraction at Universal Studios.
Seaworld has introduced Turtle Trek, with the intent to bring attention to the plight of the vulnerable sea turtle, having succeeded with a similar campaign for the manatee in the past.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is expanding Fantasyland to double its size which means more visits from princess, mermaids and evil stepmothers.
Florida Eco-Safari is home to the world’s first zipline roller coaster called the Rattlesnake offering an adventure ride that goes further and faster with more articulated turns.
With 50 million guests to feed annually Orlando has 5,000 restaurants with increasing popularity for celebrity chef dining.
Mary Haban, senior public relations manager for St Petersburg/ Clearwater introduced the Canadian connection to celebrity spotting on Florida’s west coast.
Selena Gomez, girlfriend of Justin Bieber just finished filming Spring Breakers in Clearwater with James Franco and Vanessa Hudgens. And Carrie Underwood, married to NHL player Mike Fisher recently filmed her music video “Good Girl” in Tampa.
Dunedin is considered America’s most walk-able city, but for Canadians it is home to baseball’s Grapefruit League teams, where the Toronto Blue Jays do their spring training.
Visitors looking for new challenges in personal fitness can try Ka Yoga where participants kayak to a remote location and then enjoy a private yoga class on a tiny island. One expects to share this tranquil oasis with wildlife, with dolphins possibly popping up for a visit.
Yoga aficionados looking for another experience can take the Yoga & Dali class at the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg. This is only one of a selection of adventures to partake in at the museum with the world’s largest collection of Dali artwork. The museum shows over 2,000 pieces of the surrealist’s art with 100 of his most important oil paintings.
When clients ask “what is new in Florida?” they would be advised to jot things down.