Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau Releases Research Findings

CHARLOTTE HARBOR & THE GULF ISLANDS, Fla. (May 13, 2014) – Today, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau announced  the 2014 spring training season in Port Charlotte generated an estimated economic impact of $20,978,500 for Charlotte County. This estimated figure includes direct and indirect spending and is based on out-of-county visitors. It does not include the spending of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, visiting teams or media staying in the destination.

This estimated figure is based on research the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau commissioned Research Data Services, Inc., of Tampa, to conduct during the 2014 spring training season which ran from Feb. 28 – March 29.

Highlights of the research include:

  • Of the 78,624 people who attended the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays home spring training games, 39 percent were Charlotte County residents or seasonal residents;
  • Of the non-Charlotte County resident attendees, 68 percent came from other Florida counties, 22.7 percent from other states in the U.S. and 9.3 percent hailed from other countries;
  • The typical overnight visitor party had a median party size of 2 people and spent on average five nights in the area;
  • More than half the respondents attended regular season Tampa Bay Rays games at Tropicana Field in 2013;
  • In addition to spring training baseball, the top five activities out-of-town visitors enjoyed were:
  • Dining Out
  • Shopping
  • Beach/Walking on the Beach
  • Relaxing
  • Bars/Nightlife

In March, the Charlotte Sports Park was voted by fans as the country’s Best Spring Training Facility in USA Today’s 10Best competition. A panel of MLB writers selected the ballpark as one of the top 20 facilities for voting consideration and fans had an opportunity to vote daily in the month-long, online competition. 

After the Tampa Bay Rays signed a 20-year lease with Charlotte County in 2006, the Charlotte Sports Parks underwent a $27.9 million dollar renovation and the Rays played their first spring training game on February 25, 2009. Since then, an average of 85,000 annual fans enjoy the highest level of professional baseball in a fan-friendly environment.

Each year, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau conducts marketing, sales and promotional campaigns to increase awareness of and visitation to Charlotte County. In addition to generating economic contributions, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau is also focused on developing soft adventure or eco-tourism, a low-impact industry enabling the county to preserve the invaluable natural resources that contribute to its ecological health, distinguish the area and draw visitors.

About Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands
Located halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is a charming collection of nine coastal communities surrounding the state’s second largest harbor. Florida’s premier year-round eco-tourism destination, the area offers a pristine unspoiled beauty. In 2014 Port Charlotte has been named the top U.S. Best Value Destination by trivago, the world’s largest online hotel search site, and the Charlotte Sports Park, spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, was voted “Best Spring Training Facility” by readers of USA TODAY. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands has been named one of SAIL magazine’s “10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States,” ranked by Golf Digest as “Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America,” and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the South.” Englewood was named second of the Top Ten emerging travel destinations in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.com. The area is served by five airports: The Punta Gorda Airport (PDG) with private and charter air service, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Southwest Florida International Airport, Ft. Myers, (RSW), St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA).

For more information on visiting Charlotte Harbor visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com or call 1-800-652-6090.

CONTACTS:

Jennifer Huber
Tourism Public Relations Manager
Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau
(941) 743-1900
Jennifer.Huber@CharlotteFL.com

Mary Jane Kolassa / Cindy Dobyns
Above Water Public Relations & Marketing
(407) 463-0040 / (239) 596-9149
MJKolassa@AboveWater.com  / CDobyns@AboveWater.com

Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau
18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B104
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
941-743-1900, FAX: 941-764-4932
www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com