Sarasota County is all prepared to boost its tourism challenge

 Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sarasota CountySomewhere this July, the latest upscale hotel in Sarasota, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota, will take part in a long parade of downtown developments that assure to overflow the urban core with thousands of visitors and residents.

While aiming on the tourism side, the main question lies is how Sarasota will lure hundreds of supplementary visitors required to fill the rooms of the new lodging properties.

Explore Sarasota County, is the right answer to that question, hit a bump in the road this month over promotional funding. For years now, it’s been the main topic on the state level, as witnessed in a years-long dogfight between Gov. Rick Scott and legislators who have cut his annual budget requests for Visit Florida.

Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County and a board member of Visit Florida, has long been working hard on a marketing solution, one she explained this month at a Tourist Development Council meeting. Funding, she informed the council whose responsibility it is to advise on action to the County Commission, is critical.

In the meantime, Sarasota’s dizzying pace of hotel construction carries on.

The 18-floor, 180-suite Embassy Suites by now has an impressive presence along Tamiami Trail, just a short walk from a fellow Trail tower, the 18-story, 255-room Westin, which was inaugurated late last summer. In March, the eight-floor, 162-room Art Ovation Hotel debuted as a culturally centered boutique property in the heart of downtown.



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