HENDRY COUNTY, Fla., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nonprofit Lake Okeechobee Regional Initiative (LORI) is assisting Hendry County's efforts to boost tourism by contributing to the salary for a marketing and public relations director for the Hendry County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and Economic Development Council (EDC).
With a down economy, the county is looking for innovative ways to market its rich outdoor resources and attract visitors who can help the local economy. Hendry County has a vast untapped market in eco-tourism and agri-tourism and hopes to greatly expand its number of fishing and birding visitors each year.
LORI, a program of the nonprofit Collins Center for Public Policy Inc., is working to build economies and communities along the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee. Phil Bacon, the Collins Center vice president in charge of the LORI initiative, said this position is critical to Hendry County reaching its potential as a tourist destination.
"This position is extremely important as a catalyst for bringing the region into focus as a tourist destination," Bacon said. "This person will help us brand the region."
With the eastern portion of the county situated on scenic Lake Okeechobee, and the north central and western portions bordering the Caloosahatchee River, the county is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Lake Okeechobee is visited by 6 million people a year, and 14 million residents live within a two-hour drive of the county.
The marketing and public relations director will work to attract a larger percentage of these visitors and residents for overnight visits and events. In addition, the director will capitalize on the connection between tourism and economic development.
"You just can't deny the connection between tourism and economic development," said Roger Harrison, president and CEO of the Hendry County EDC. "Tourists bring money to our community, bolstering jobs in the hospitality and retail industry. A tourist's dollar is turned over up to six times in the local economy with little to no strain on public services."
Additionally, Harrison said, it's a great way to market Hendry County for new business. "People see what we've got going here, and want to turn their visit into a lifetime stay. This commitment from LORI shows that we're on the right track. Everyone is excited about the immediate potential this change will bring."
Just recently, LORI assisted efforts to land Outdoor World Village on the northern rim of Lake Okeechobee, a project expected to help the economies of communities across the entire region. LORI has also:
- Helped develop a website and video as part of a marketing plan to boost tourism.
- Saved a bus line that ferries workers between Clewiston and Belle Glade.
- Begun plans to build a community garden in one of the poorest sections of Belle Glade.
- Nudged the Florida Department of Transportation to put high priority on improving one of the state's most dangerous intersections at State Road 80 and U.S. 27.
- Procured and distributed GIS data maps to regional leaders showing infrastructure; land and water resources; public facilities; and employment centers.
- Brought a nationally recognized firm to develop state-of-the-art demographic data-gathering techniques related to census count.
For more information on the new position visit: www.hendryedc.com/job.
To learn more about LORI, visit: www.collinscenter.org or contact Thomas Arthur at 727-553-4527.
Thomas Arthur, Director of Collins
News & Information Services
SOURCE Collins Center for Public Policy