To the editor:
Top 10 lists. Top 20 lists. Ranking lists of all shapes and sizes have become the rage in the tourism industry, providing national and international classifications on everything from best beaches to the best places to spend the holidays. For The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, the rankings are providing tremendous exposure for the destination in prestigious media outlets.
Lee County assets have scored top billing many times:
- Sanibel Island made USA Today's list of top 10 best beach towns in Florida as well as 10 great places for families to escape the snow.
- Coastal Living included North-end Beach on Captiva among its Top 21 Best Beaches.
- The Mucky Duck on Captiva Island ranked No. 15 on the list of Best Florida Beach Bars in Florida Travel + Life.
- Field & Stream editors named Pine Island among the 25 hottest American fishing destinations.
- Sanibel Island was named to the Top Ten Family Beach Vacations in the USA by U.S. News & World Report.
- Fans of the Weather Channel picked Sanibel as one of the Top 6 Favorite Beaches.
- GO Magazine, the inflight publication of AirTran airlines, listed the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers among its Top 100 list of things to see and do in AirTran destinations (more than 125 cities worldwide).
- Peter Greenberg, America's foremost travel expert, included J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Bonita Springs among his top five recommended spots for a bird-watching spring break.
- Norman Love Confections and Salon was named one of the "10 greatest places for a sweet chocolate feast" by USA Today.
- Lee County has topped a smattering of other lists as well, and publicity like this in major publications has provided very significant exposure for our destination. At the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, we typically disseminate news releases when rankings are released, and the publicity multiplies as other media outlets do their own stories.
The benefits don't end there. The exposure keeps Lee County top-of-mind in the travel media, which can generate news stories, feature stories or inclusion on other lists. We also promote the rankings through our social media channels, providing a direct line of communication to potential visitors.
The next time Lee County tops a list, count on the VCB to spread the word. Feel free to join us in tweeting and posting the news in your own social media channels as well. You never know when media coverage or social media exposure will inspire a return visitor or new traveler to our destination.