Yesterday, I attended the Lee County Tourist Development Council meeting. Current visitor numbers were shared as well as an update on Group & Meeting Sales and International Sales efforts. Here is a link to that information.

I also learned that Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau recently launched the Fort Myers Sun Saver Passport, a collection of mobile-exclusive discounts for visitors and locals to enjoy throughout the destination. Click here to see what's included.
This digital savings pass provides instant access to a variety of deals and experiences from area attractions, restaurants and more across four categories – Dine, Play, Shop and Sip. Since late November, more than 2,000 people have accessed the pass, and redemptions are already coming in. There is no app to download, and sign-up up is simple and 100% free for both users and industry partners. Passports are instantly delivered to phones via text and email. And there is even an option for users to save the pass on their home screen for one-tap access.

If your business would fit into one of these categories, contact Nancy MacPhee and she will help you get set up. More information here.
The monthly Florida Chamber call with local Chambers was on Wednesday, January 13. Mark Wilson shared some updates that may be of interest.

1) The 2021 Florida Workforce Needs Survey is out. If you could complete this I would appreciate it. Here is the link.

2) The focus of this year's Legislative Session is to balance the budget – 2.7 Billion will need to be cut to have a balanced budget. It is going to be a tough year.

3) “Florida is Open For Business” – this is the newest campaign from the Florida Chamber.

"As the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is encouraging employers to make the move to Florida with its new “Open for Business” campaign. Recent trends show major employers and corporations are considering relocating employees and operations from high-cost states like New York and California to high value locations with a low-cost of living. Florida is a prime location for consideration with its competitive offerings and pro-business, pro-jobs climate. Constantly ranked one of the best states for business, Florida is committed to keeping regulatory requirements and business taxes low. That, along with a strong economy and zero personal state income tax, makes it a better state to do business."

The website shares 10 reasons why employers are moving to Florida, including details to support these reasons.

4) Legislative issues – Our Chamber has taken a formal position to support liability protection for claims related to COVID-19 for our business community. Two bills have been presented (HB7 & SB72) and we will keep you updated as they progress.
On Monday we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. When the holiday was first declared in 1983, 15 years after Dr. King’s assassination, his widow, Coretta Scott King, wrote about wanting the day to be meaningful in a way that moves beyond the symbolic.

“Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress.” 

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is an official day of service and celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. 

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. Day at The King Center's website.
Though local parades have been cancelled due to COVID-19, the Dunbar Festival Committee has events planned over the weekend.  

MLK Day Celebration in Fort Myers
Monday, January 18, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
STARS Complex, 2980 Edison Ave, Fort Myers

The outdoor celebration includes vendors, food, speakers and live performers. It’s part of a weekend of activities that includes an after-hours social event with TV host Lee Pitts from 5-10 p.m. Friday at Celsius Night Club (guests are asked to wear all black) and a gospel concert featuring local church choirs and a candlelight vigil from 4-7 p.m. Saturday at the STARS Complex. For more information click here.
A relevant article for this week: “It’s Time for a New Approach to Racial Equity” by By Earl Fitzhugh, JP Julien, Nick Noel, and Shelley Stewart.

“2020 has also emerged as a moment of opportunity, a possible inflection point for addressing inequity in a profound way. The global protests following the killing of George Floyd demonstrated the widespread awareness of inequity and a willingness to do something about it. Fortune 1000 companies have responded, committing $66 billion to racial-equity initiatives. But how can this potential be tapped in a way that delivers meaningful, systemic change? In this article, we will explain why we believe that no single sector can solve this problem on its own. We will outline five key elements that are needed for a broad coalition of public-, private-, and social-sector entities to succeed.” 
Looking for resources on Equity? Start with the
As you know our Chamber created an Equity Committee in mid-2020 and we now have a work plan for 2021. The work will be broken into missions so that it is specific and efficient. Missions include many aspects of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (DEI), from learning how to develop a DEI statement to adding Equity to your company website. As each mission is completed, it will be shared on our website and in our newsletter so that you can use it as a resource for your company.  
I am hoping all of you have a safe weekend.

The Chamber office will be closed on Monday, January 18.