THE MARCO ISLAND
Film Festival, set for Oct. 18 to
27, will include some films shown free right on the beach, Oct. 23.
In addition to screenings, there are workshops, receptions, parties
and networking opportunities with filmmakers, actors, writers and
devotees. Some Naples and Marco Island hotels offer commissionable
packages or special rates during the festival. For information,
call (239) 642-FEST or check the Web site www.marcoislandfilmfest.com
TWO NATIONWIDE problems -- rising levels of
discourtesy and look-alike attractions -- could affect repeat
business to Florida and other states, according to Barry Pitegoff,
vp-research for Visit Florida. During the recent Florida Governor's
Conference on Tourism in Kissimmee, Pitegoff cited a survey
revealing that 50% of the respondents had walked out of retail
establishments because of rude treatment. "Generica," or the
commercial homogenization from look-alike malls and sights is the
other challenge. It has a strategic marketing implication, he said:
"If every place looks the same, why go anywhere?"
• The 54-unit Vero Beach Hotel & Club (formerly Ocean Guest
Suites) and the 106-room Palm Court Resort, also in Vero Beach,
were acquired by William Esping, managing general partner in EFO
Holdings, Dallas, and John Ayres, chairman and CEO of Coral Beach
Hotels & Clubs, Naples, Fla. The two men had leased the
properties since 2000 from Vero Mar Development Ltd. Coral Beach
Hotels & Clubs will run the hotels, and its marketing arm, the
Coral Collection of Fine Hotels & Resorts, will handle their
international marketing effort. Capital improvements to the
properties and a repositioning for the upscale traveler are
• The Wellesley Inn Deerfield Beach, with 79 units, was sold by
Fairfield, N.J.-based Prime Hospitality to Bijal Hospitality LLC,
but will continue to operate as a Wellesley Inn under a 20-year
• Motel 6 is reconstructing its 149-room property at 5909 American
Way, Orlando, and it will reopen in December with interior
corridors, new heating and cooling systems, room dataports,
electronic door locks and a pool.
• The two-night Gridiron and Golf package was introduced by World
Golf Village, St. Augustine. Rates of $457 per person, double,
apply from Sept. 8 to Dec. 22 when Jacksonville Jaguars home games
are scheduled. Included is a Renaissance Resort room, game ticket,
one round of golf, sightseeing admissions, beach club access and
other golf features. For information, call (800) WGV-GOLF or check
the Web site, www.wgv.com. For the Jaguars' full 2002 schedule, go
• Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Destin, opened its Village of
Baytowne Wharf, a 28-acre waterfront pedestrian complex featuring a
collection of specialty merchants ranging from quaint boutique
shops and charming eateries to lively nightclubs.
• Southeast Airlines will inaugurate public charter service from
Stewart Airport near Newburgh, N.Y., to Fort Lauderdale starting
Sept. 12. Newark will be an intermediate stop. During November, a
nonstop route from Stewart to Fort Lauderdale may be added.
Southeast at present offers public charter flights between Newark
and Fort Lauderdale and Newark and St. Petersburg/Clearwater. For
information, call (800) FLY-SEAL or check the Web site www.flyseal.com.
• Midwest Express will operate Kansas City-Fort Myers seasonal
service from Dec. 18 to April 27.
• Alaska Airlines plans to introduce a daily, nonstop flight
between its Seattle hub and Miami on Nov. 21, using a 120-seat
FALL DEAL: Walt Disney Travel Co.'s three-night
Funshine Package, priced from $315 per adult, double, requires
booking by Sept. 23. It covers a value category hotel (at this
rate), an Ultimate Park Hopper ticket (to all four theme parks and
the water parks) and a commemorative luggage tag. The rate is valid
most nights Nov. 3 to Dec. 25. Higher rates apply if upgraded
hotels are selected. For reservations call (800) 327-2996. The
package code is ZWKH. The Web site is www.disneytravelagents.com.
PORT EVERGLADES welcomed Ken Krauter as its new
port director. Most recently he was CEO of the Jacksonville (Fla.)
CLARIFICATION: The Holiday Inn Family Suites
Resort, Orlando, allows guests who win a free two-night package
under its Suites-Stakes promotion to return any time between Oct.
15 of this year and Dec. 23 of next year. In last week's E-Letter,
the 2003 was inadvertently omitted. For information, call (877)