Get your local update from the VP of Tourism on news in the county and upcoming events to look out for.
On my mind … by Georgia Turner, VP of Tourism
Has anyone ever asked you how many people visit our area each year? Well, now we know! According to the “Economic Impact of Tourism on Flagler County” study which was conducted by Mid-Florida Marketing & Research during the calendar year of 2012, the number of visitors to the Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches area was 1.6 million!
Half stayed in hotels and motels and half stayed with friends and relatives or in their own part-time residences. The good news is how much they spent. Including tourist dollars spent in restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops, lounges, gas stations, attractions, golf courses and other locations, the total expenditures were $260 million.
The study went on to show that tourism generates employment of 3,300 people with a payroll exceeding $57 million. And probably the best news of all is that the percent of local sales tax paid by tourists is 30 percent. That’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, for sure! (This reminded me of one of my favorite photos by local photographer Wanda Lee, which I’ve included below!)
This latest information is just more for all of us in the industry to use to show our residents and local government leaders the IMPACT that tourism has on Flagler County!
In other news, today at their meeting, the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners passed the Tourist Development Council Fund 110 budget of $900,000 for the fiscal year 2013-14.
As I said at the TDC meeting last month, this year’s plan is an “evolution, not a revolution.” We’ll continue to focus our marketing on the states our research tells us brings 55 percent of our tourists – Florida and Georgia. We’ll also beef up our efforts to market to Eastern Canada, one of our growth markets.
The majority of the advertising buys will have a digital aspect, which allows us to measure their worth with Google Analytics and other tools. Selling our area to sports planners and to focusing on our strong niche markets like Eco-tourism and pet friendliness is a focus.
Last but not least, we’ll expand our visitor services and keep trying to improve on the already excellent hospitality visitors get when they visit our area.
Please mark your calendar for the next Hospitality and Arts Alliances meetings on Thursday, November 14 from 2-4 pm, at the Flagler Auditorium, where we will present the marketing plan and budget to the tourism industry and interested partners.
Vice President, Tourism Development
Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates
Celebrate National Arts in Education Week September 7-15, 2013
Flagler Auditorium has spearheaded a weeklong celebration of National Arts in Education Week, September 7-15,throughout Flagler County. With the assistance of the Flagler County School District, Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates and the Flagler County Tourist Development Council, local arts organizations and fine arts students have joined forces to showcase the quality and diversity of creative talent in Flagler County.
“Back in 2010 Congress proclaimed the second week in September as National Arts in Education Week,” said Lisa McDevitt, Director of the Flagler Auditorium. “We wanted to celebrate this designation in Flagler County, and have a great line up of activities planned to raise visibility for our local arts community.”
According to Georgia Turner, Vice President of Tourism Development for the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates, local arts organizations recently banded together earlier this year to form an Arts & Cultural Alliance. “This celebration is a good example of the level of collaboration we’re seeing from the new alliance. We’re committed to generating more awareness about the local arts scene, and hoping this event will become an annual favorite for residents and out-of-town guests.”
Activities planned during the celebration include:
Sept. 7 – Second Story Stage Workshop on “Audition Preparation”; Flagler Playhouse, 9 am – 12 pm for ages 8-12 years; 1 pm – 4 pm for ages 13 – 18 years. $15 per workshop. Call 386-864-3788 or visit http://www.flaglerplayhouse.com/
Sept. 9 – Celebrating Arts in the Community; Flagler Auditorium, 6-8 pm. Showcase featuring local artists: Art work displays by Flagler County Art League and Flagler Fine Art Festivals, including Pat Fadden, Mike Gleason, Barbara Lindfors, Judy Matthews, Mike Murphy, Steven Sobel, Trish Vevera, and Judy Wormeck; live performances by City Repertory Theatre, Flagler Playhouse, Flagler School of Dance and local singer Linda Cole. Free. Call 386-437-7547 or visit http://www.flaglerauditorium.org/
PLEASE NOTE: The Tourism Office will have a booth at this event featuring information on local arts organizations. If you would like to have your information distributed, please bring 100 copies to our office in Suite B at the Chamber by Friday, September 6. We also have buttons with the logo (see right) for your staffers to wear.
Sept. 10 – Celebrating Arts in the Schools; Flagler Auditorium, 6-8 pm. Showcase featuring local student performances in music, art, dance and drama. Free. Call 386-437-7547 or visit http://www.flaglerauditorium.org
Sept. 11 – Arts day with Leadership Flagler. Flagler County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Class will meet with local arts groups including Flagler County Art League, Flagler Playhouse, Hollingsworth Gallery, City Repertory Theatre and Flagler Auditorium. Call 386-437-0106. www.flaglerchamber.org
Sept. 13 – “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” City Repertory Theatre, 7:30 pm. The theatre, located in City Marketplace in Palm Coast, kicks off its season with this lively musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the “coat of many colors” story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis. $20 adults/$15 students. Call 386-585-9415. Visit http://crtpalmcoast.com/
Sept. 14 – Flagler County Art League/Hollingsworth Gallery “Second Saturday” event. 6-9 pm. FCAL and Hollingsworth Gallery, located in City Marketplace in Palm Coast join forces each month for art show openings at their galleries. City Repertory Theatre will present a special performance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at 9 pm. Gallery openings are free; tickets needed for performance. Call
386-986-4668 or visit www.flaglercountyartleague.com
Sept. 15 – Flagler Fine Art Festivals, Veterans Park, Flagler Beach, 10 am – 4 pm. Featuring the best in juried regional fine art — a selection to suit every collector — plus performing artists, artist demonstrations and a children’s art project sponsored by Michael’s of Palm Coast. Free. Call 386-986-9567 or visit www.flaglerfineartfest.com
Also Sept. 15 – “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” matinee performance, City Repertory Theatre, 2 pm. The theatre, located in City Marketplace in Palm Coast, kicks off its season with this lively musical. $20 adults/$15 students. Call (386) 585-9415. Visit
‘There’s an app for that!’ Fantastic Flagler goes interactive
Those looking to visit or move and need information about Flagler County will be glad to hear “there’s an app for that!” The award-winning Fantastic Flagler Visitor and Newcomer Guide is now available both online at
www.fantasticflaglerguide.com and as a downloadable app for devices.
The interactive app and online guide contains a wealth of information about Flagler County, and, in particular, answers the most frequently asked questions visitors and new residents have about the area. From expert articles about local amenities to iconic photos of the community’s beaches and attractions, this app is a virtual tour guide to Flagler County’s culture and heritage, dining and entertainment, outdoors and nature, boating and fishing and much more.
According to Chamber President Rebecca DeLorenzo, releasing an app was a priority for the Chamber and natural extension of its publishing operation.
“Fantastic Flagler has been one of our most successful print publications for years, and the most important collateral piece our tourism staff uses to market the county,” she said. “As part of our commitment to increasing our online presence, it made sense to produce not one, but two digital alternatives to help us reach an even wider audience.
DeLorenzo explained that the demand for Fantastic Flagler has been so favorable, the Chamber introduced a digital component so users can view the guide on their iPad, tablets and Kindles. Apps are available for download in the Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon.
With 20,000 copies published each spring, Fantastic Flagler is Flagler County’s only visitor and newcomer guide with distribution that spans the United States, Canada and Europe. A favorite with newcomers, visitors and residents for years, Fantastic Flagler can be picked up throughout Flagler County at hotels, motels, campgrounds, resorts & parks, golf courses, real estate offices, county and city government offices, area community events, and businesses and the Chamber’s Visitor Centers.
Google Trekker team visits Flagler beaches
A team from Google and VISIT FLORIDA was on the beaches in Flagler County the week of August 19 as part of a four-month odyssey to capture stunning images of the Sunshine State’s 825 miles of beaches using Google’s Street View Trekker technology.
These 360-degree images will be integrated into Google Maps, enabling potential visitors from around the globe to experience interactive views of Florida’s world-renowned beaches before they ever leave home.
The imagery is being collected by two-person teams (trained by Google Maps experts) who are using the Street View Trekker and walking roughly 50 miles of beaches each week. The Trekker is a wearable backpack with a camera system on top (see photo at right). Its 15 lenses are angled in different directions to capture a complete picture of a location, and the images are then stitched together into 360-degree panoramic views.
The completed imagery, scheduled for release next year, will enable viewers to digitally explore Florida shorelines step by step.