Hurricane Ian went through our area two months ago and today we find ourselves taking the time to give thanks. There are admittedly days when we are feeling more thankful than others. But our future is bright. If you are counting your blessings today, there are some that you might add.
More than half of guest rooms open
Since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Lee County, nearly 60% of the county’s guest rooms have opened with more to come in the weeks and months ahead. With the Oct. 19 reopening of the Sanibel Causeway, this milestone of about 8,507 rooms opening throughout Lee County is another step in the right direction. Realizing that most of the available rooms are currently occupied by those helping with recovery and assisting displaced residents, we are confident that we will welcome our visitors back as soon as the area is ready. One thing that has not changed is the passion for Southwest Florida.
Neighbors helping neighbors
We continue to be thankful and inspired by those in our community who are helping those in need and working tirelessly to rebuild. The spirit of generosity continues and I find the stories to be healing and encouraging as we make progress toward recovery, one day at a time. These stories have become part of our Road to Recovery video series. Please take the time to watch and I think you will agree that although our community has been damaged, our spirit remains strong.
A great example of that spirit is the Fort Myers Brewing Company’s mobile laundromat. Owner Rob Whyte turned his food truck into a mobile laundromat after seeing a story on the news about a woman who wanted clean clothes after losing everything. He’s been to Pine Island, Fort Myers Beach, Island Park and Harlem Heights and has already upgraded his water filter system to improve the process. Then Whyte noticed people needed socks and he started giving out free packages of socks and donated clothes. He credits the help of his neighbors, friends and community for continuing to donate items, including detergent, clothes and socks. youtube.com/watch?v=WzOi276FzzQ&t=12s
After losing everything of their own, Nick and Lori Adams turned the focus of their Sanibel family photography business to help others. They are now using their drone as a damage assessment tool. While the news may not always be good, Nick Adams says that people want to know what happened to their homes so they can move forward. While the Sanibel Causeway was down, their son, Max, was able to get to Sanibel by boat to get footage from all angles. They continue to photograph the area and post photos and video on The Sanibel Captiva Guide (on Facebook) to keep residents informed. youtube.com/watch?v=iQsBPcRNtn0
Sun Splash season pass supports hospitality workers
Sun Splash in Cape Coral is donating a portion of the proceeds from its 2023 season pass sales to the SWFL Emergency Relief Fund. Coordinated by the United Way and Collaboratory, the fund directly supports hospitality workers in the greater Fort Myers Area.
The passes may be purchased at sunsplash.com through Dec. 4.
‘What To Do’ returns
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau team is excited to restart the “What To Do” events listing each Monday. This is a great way to check out activities in the area. Visit visitfortmyers.com/lee-vcb/news-updates/news-releases and click “What To Do” each Monday.
If you are looking for places that may be open this holiday weekend, a list of accommodations and attractions may be found at visitfortmyers.com/open. As information is rapidly changing and there may be limited availability, hours and amenities, please check with the individual businesses on their status.
We continue to work with federal, state and local partners. For the latest information visit leegov.com/storm and follow facebook.com/leecountyflbocc
Tamara Pigott is the executive director of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, the lead marketing agency charged with bringing worldwide visitors to Lee County. Almost 5 million visitors spend more than $3.7 billion annually. The VCB is funded exclusively by a 5 percent tourist tax and works to preserve and protect area beaches and the environment.
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Lee Tourism: Fort Myers Brewing, Sun Splash highlight road to recovery