With the end of the year in sight, the holidays usually are a time of reflection and gratitude, but also for excitement and anticipation for the upcoming new year.
This is no exception for the tourism industry of Manatee County. Hosting the 2017 World Rowing Championships, acquiring new non-stop flights at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and continued support from our community are just a few examples of things to be grateful for this year.
Not only have these been successful accomplishments, but they have paved the way for new and exciting things to come in 2018.
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With the success of Elite Airlines flights to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport this year, we will be welcoming a year-round non-stop flight from SRQ to Pittsburgh (starting Feb. 23, 2018). This has been a long time coming and we know that residents and visitors will see many benefits from this new service between our sister cities.
Elite Airlines has provided commercial service since 2006 and is one of the top charter airlines for the NCAA athletes. They fly 50- and 70-seat regional jets with all leather seats at fares that compete well with flights out of Tampa International Airport. This airline also offers no change fees and the first bag is free.
I urge our residents to support this “elite” service and as their demand for business increases, Elite Airways will continue to add flights out of our beautiful airport.
As you all know, we are blessed to have vibrant arts, culture and heritage organizations throughout the Bradenton area, but the challenge has been to consistently and effectively help these organizations communicate their events and unique activities to not only our residents but in the marketplace as well.
The exciting news is that our department will be hiring a full-time employee in the new year who will be dedicated to working with these types of organizations that will ultimately improve communications county-wide and better promote these industries in the marketplace.
We ask you all to please continue to support our local arts, culture and heritage organizations so they can continue to grow and prosper for many years to come. These small businesses no doubt enhance the quality of life for residents and play a major part in business development for communities.
Finally, our community continues to be so good to me and the staff at the convention and visitors bureau. Your kindness and partnerships for the greater good for our overall community is what continues to give us passion to work hard as community servants.
That said, in the new year, let’s all try to focus on building relationships with people that we shy away from, continue to foster the relationships we have and exude a mindset of balance, humility and unselfish behavior for the greater good of our community, and not have a self-serving attitude that just serves a few.
Balance is always effective, and unselfish partnerships are powerful.
Happy holidays to all and I hope you will join me in welcoming the exciting year to come. Thanks again for allowing me and the staff at the convention and visitors bureau to serve our beautiful community.