FLORIDA IS MORE
than theme parks, palm trees and
beaches, one surmises from the new advertising-promotional effort
called Culturally Florida, which was undertaken by the recently
formed Florida Cultural Tourism Marketing Coalition. Culturally
Florida focuses on theaters, museums, art, architecture, history,
ethnic organizations, science and discovery; small towns and music.
Collateral matter includes a new Visit Florida-linked Web site: www.culturallyflausa.com
and two print publications --
The Travel Planner, which selected travel agents and others will
receive, and The Guide Book, the main fulfillment piece. The
marketing coalition is financially supported by American Express,
Visit Florida and the Florida Department of State. The program was
developed by these groups over two years in conjunction with
various cultural organizations and convention and visitors bureaus.
FARE DEALS: Spirit Airlines on Dec. 14 will
launch seasonal service from Chicago (O'Hare) to West Palm Beach
with an introductory fare of $79 one-way. The fare is valid from
Dec. 14 to Jan. 31, with some holiday blackout dates. Tickets must
be purchased by Nov. 15. Meanwhile, JetBlue Airways on Nov. 28
launches Washington (Dulles)-Fort Lauderdale nonstops. The $49
one-way introductory fare must be purchased by Nov. 30 for travel
completed by Dec. 15. Regular fares will range from $79 to $199
one-way. JetBlue on Nov. 1 also will add a second daily flight from
New York (JFK) to Fort Myers and a third daily flight to West Palm
Beach. More flights to those cities will be available starting in
mid-December. There are $55 one-way fares between JFK and all
Florida airports if the purchase is made by Nov. 7 and travel is
completed by Nov. 30.
GAYLORD ENTERTAINMENT will change the brand of
its Opryland properties to the newly created Gaylord Hotels flag.
The move, effective immediately, means that Gaylord's 1,406-room
hotel in Kissimmee, opening Feb. 2, originally as the Opryland
Hotel Florida, will be renamed the Gaylord Palms. Customer research
indicated the Opryland name was strong in Nashville and Texas,
where other properties are situated, but it did not connect with
the Kissimmee property.
TWO-FOR-ONE deals at Greater Fort Lauderdale's
theatrical, art, opera and concert attractions are the latest
fall/early winter tourist draws. The deals are part of a
cooperative effort that also includes 620 hotels and the Greater
Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. For information,
call (800) 356-1662.
THE PIER HOUSE Resort & Caribbean Spa, Key
West, completed a $4.5 million, two-year renovation, which yielded
among other things -- a new restaurant -- One Duval, specializing
in New Calypso Harvest cuisine (Caribbean and Florida ingredients).
Also added were two waterfront penthouse suites. The Havana Heights
and Seabreeze suites are priced through Dec. 24 at $1,100 and
$1,000 per night, respectively, quad.
THE PALMS SOUTH Beach in Miami Beach will hold
its grand opening Nov. 29. The 242-room property previously was
known as the Miami Beach Ocean Resort. The 242-room property is
owned by Hans and Ursula Krause, who also own The National Hotel on
INTRAWEST Corp., Vancouver, owner of Sandestin
Golf and Beach Resort near Destin, embarked on a major expansion
which calls for 175 accommodations to be added by May, along with
the 28-acre Village of Baytowne Wharf (with 42 retail,
entertainment and dining outlets). Set to open in March 2003 is the
150-room phase one of the luxury Grand Sandestin Hotel and the
32,000-square-foot Baytowne Conference Center. Another 300 rooms
for Grand Sandestin (in three buildings), will open by late 2004 or