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Business Observer Friday, Aug. 24, 2018 3 weeks ago

Spreading the word

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PR firms unite to promote tourism in Southwest Florida in the face of hotel cancellations over water quality issues.

As news spreads about water quality issues from Caloosahatchee River algae blooms to historic-level Gulf of Mexico red tides, the impact of canceled vacations have begun to take its toll on hotels and associated hospitality-oriented business, such as restaurants and water-borne tours.

But a consortium of marketing and public relations professionals in Southwest Florida have responded with an effort to share positive aspects of the region on social media, and they are asking local residents for help. Using the hashtag #SWFLchallenge, employees of Southwest Florida firms including iPartnerMedia, Conric PR & Marketing, M&M Multimedia, Pushing the Envelope, SEO Mechanic, Testimonial Tree, TLC Marketing & Creative Services, Veer90 and others are sharing videos and images on their personal social media accounts. They illustrate people enjoying local parks, botanical gardens and indoor amusements, and patronizing locally owned restaurants and shops.

The idea is to show the world Southwest Florida is still open for tourism.

“We are not trying to ignore the reality of what’s happening with our waterways and marine life, but we want to remind people that there are still a lot of positive things about our region to be appreciative of,” says Albert Arguelles, vice president of iPartnerMedia, in a statement. “We invite everyone to join us and take the Southwest Florida Challenge and share their positive experiences on social media using the hashtag.”

The goal of the challenge is to motivate residents and even visitors to create and share social media posts of themselves patronizing locally owned businesses and attractions using the #SWFLchallenge hashtag. 

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