Chamber Hosts Visit Florida CEO for Virtual Meeting

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Dana Young

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual meeting on Sept. 17 featuring Dana Young, president and chief executive officer of Visit Florida, as guest speaker. She spoke about the current state of tourism from the perspective of Florida’s official destination marketing organization.

In her Florida Tourism Rebound & Recovery presentation, Young talked about the state’s Economic & Demographic Research (EDR) studies for assessing Florida’s readiness to again promote tourism.

She pointed out that the state’s readiness depends upon a number of factors including health conditions; whether residents are ready to welcome visitors; and the availability of beaches, attractions, restaurants, and accommodations.

“We’ve been tracking metrics for travelers and residents to determine when would be an appropriate time to launch a campaign and we determined, by sentiment on both sides, that people in Florida are ready to travel in-state, at a level where it’s time to assist partners with advertising to get back on their feet.” She added that campaigns targeting out-of-state domestic travelers will kick in within the next few weeks.

Young outlined campaigns to target in-state and domestic travelers, including co-op opportunities through ads, social media, billboards, and travel banners. The Sanibel-Captiva chamber plans on participating in co-op ads in October and November as it gears up for season, says John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer..

Young took the lead position with Visit Florida in January 2019. A sixth-generation Floridian born and raised in Tallahassee, she previously served in the Florida House from 2010 through 2016, rising to Majority Leader for the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. In 2016, Young was elected to the Florida Senate, where she represented parts of western Hillsborough County for two years. In addition to her current duties for Visit Florida, Young is a member of the U.S. Travel Association’s Chairman’s Circle.

“Throughout her career as a Florida attorney, Dana has served in leadership positions working to cultivate and protect Florida’s exceptional business climate and a world-class quality of life,” said Lai. “She came to Visit Florida with a complete tool set for the position, and we truly benefited from hearing her expertise on the topic of where tourism is headed in the current pandemic climate.”

The chamber’s next virtual meeting, a Ballot Briefing Power Hour, takes place at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 2 with Michael Nachef, system director of government relations for Lee Health. He will speak about informed voting on the six amendments on the upcoming ballot. For information, contact chamber member services manager Ashley Pignato at

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. With over 560 active Chamber members from both islands including businesses from Lee and Collier counties, the Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The Francis P. Bailey, Jr. Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and welcomes over 160,000 visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the Visitor Center one of thirteen official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers. The Visitor Center is open 365 days a year and provides visitors with comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, where to stay, shop and dine. The Chamber website receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year.

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