Pax Global Media
Fort Myers is making progress on the road to recovery as it continues to rebuild from the impact of Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm that hit the Florida region in September 2022.
Although the local landscape may look different, businesses in the area continue to return, according to an update from VoX International, which represents The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Canada.
"Each is a significant milestone as the destination looks forward to welcoming visitors back to make new memories," the update reads.
Important icons to the destination are being restored or rebuilt. The Sanibel Lighthouse, built in 1884, is still standing tall with the relighting of the structure planned in the near future. The Bokeelia Fishing Pier gate was rescued from the water by Pine Island, and plans are underway to restore it.
The Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins return to Fort Myers for spring training beginning in late February.
Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs and the Mound House on Fort Myers Beach have opened to visitors. Many Lee County parks are open and welcoming visitors.
Captiva Cruises operates a reduced cruise schedule from McCarthy's Marina on Captiva Island and Boca Grande. Cabbage Key is open, and guests can still have a cheeseburger and leave a dollar on the wall. Shelling tours, dolphin sunset tours, and kayaking are available through local outfitters.
As rebuilding continues, the latest figures indicate that 68.4 per cent of Lee County accommodations are now open, with 9,801 rooms.
Check the list of openings at visitfortmyers.com/open.
Resort properties have reopened and are welcoming guests and meeting groups:
Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa, Fort Myers
Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina, Fort Myers Beach
Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Cape Coral
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, Bonita Springs
Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, Captiva Island
Margaritaville Beach Resort on Fort Myers Beach plans a fall 2023 opening.
South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island plans to open in September 2023.
Culinary & dining
The Mucky Duck reopens
A famous sunset spot for locals and visitors, the Mucky Duck on Captiva Island has reopened, serving cold beer and fresh seafood. A favorite gathering spot in the heart of the island with an island beach vibe and beautiful views.
Taste of the Bubble Room
Closed temporarily, the iconic Bubble Room on Captiva Island restaurant teamed up with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre for a temporary pop-up shop to offer a taste of its famous orange crunch cake and red velvet, the moist chocolate, and the white Christmas cake.
Key Lime Bistro on Boca Grande
The Key Lime Bistro on Captiva Island is temporarily closed due to repairs. However, if visitors crave its famous Key Lime pie, a new location in the historic train depot on Boca Grande recently opened as the Key Lime Bistro Boca Grande and Loose Caboose Ice Cream.
Shipping containers transform into a beach bar
On Fort Myers Beach, a bigger and better bar will replace La Ola Surfside Restaurant. The new beach bar will be made from two shipping containers opening to a deck, includes space for entertainment, a full-service bar, and restrooms.
Go to www.visitfortmyers.com for the latest information on recovery efforts and openings.
VoX renews account
Meanwhile, VoX International has announced the renewal of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) account for another three years.
As the agency of record representing Fort Myers, VoX was first awarded the contract in January 2012.
For the past eleven years, VoX has increased the visibility and awareness of Fort Myers across Canada with a team in Toronto, Alberta, BC, and Quebec.
The destination has seen continuous growth in visitor arrivals with the expansion of new routes and daily non-stop service from several Canadian gateways.
The new three-year agreement outlines a strategic sales and public relations plan following the devastating impact of the hurricane with targeted partnerships, promotions, and crisis communications to the important travel trade.
“Since we first signed with VoX in 2012, they have proven themselves to be a leader in destination representation”, said Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. “Their advanced industry knowledge and ability to negotiate strategic partnerships have been invaluable. We are, therefore, happy to renew our partnership with VoX”.
"As one of our longest-standing clients, Fort Myers has been an absolute pleasure to work with," said Susan Webb, president of VoX International. “We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to extend our contract for another three years. Fort Myers has been a favourite winter getaway for Canadian snowbirds, with daily Air Canada and WestJet service.
Jeanette Faria has been appointed as the account manager alongside Andrew Ricketts, who handles public relations.
Both started on the account together since the start in January 2012.
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