Charlotte County Tourist Development Tax Update

Plus: Lee County tourism is the topic at an upcoming event, Emerald Medical opens, and more.

Need to catch up on Southwest Florida business news? No problem. Here are the top stories of the week pulled from our daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily.

Friday, May 10


The Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau announced Charlotte County Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenues collected during March 2019 totaled nearly $1.01 million. This reflects a 5.43 percent increase over March 2018’s collections of $957,412. This is the most TDT Revenue that Charlotte County has collected during a single month since the Bureau’s inception in 1997. Two events—the Snowbird Baseball Classic and the SpringFling Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse—created a $16 million economic impact and $10.5 million in direct expenditures. Charlotte County levies a 5 percent tourist development tax on accommodation stays of six months or less, in addition to the 7 percent sales tax. The first 3 percent is spent for tourism promotion and marketing support, and the fourth and fifth percent are used to fund the debt service on the bond for the renovations at the Charlotte Sports Park.

Thursday, May 9


The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce will highlight the latest updates in Lee County tourism during its luncheon held at 11:30 a.m. on May 16 at Campo Felice Retirement Living in Fort Myers. Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) Deputy Director Pamela Johnson and Marketing Director Brian Ososky will provide a tourism marketing update, sharing a behind-the-scenes look into how the VCB markets the region as a must-see destination. The program will include an overview of the VCB’s initiatives to overcome the worst red tide event that Lee County has seen in half a century, as well as its efforts moving forward. Johnson and Ososky will also showcase the VCB’s 2019 summer campaign and more. The event is sponsored by Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. Admission to the May luncheon is $25 for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. Free parking is provided in Campo Felice’s parking garage. For more details, visit or call (239) 332-3624.

Wednesday, May 8


The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to study Big Carlos Pass, New Pass and Big Hickory Pass in order to better understand how those inlets function and how they influence the adjacent beaches. The Estero Bay Regional Inlet Management Study will determine the volume and location of beach sand in each of the inlets and how the sand moves throughout the region over time. The results be used to determine the best method for managing the area, potentially including inlet dredging and nourishing the adjacent eroded beaches. Study recommendations are expected to be adopted by the state as a formal inlet management plan. The Florida DEP will provide $422, 596 for the study. Lee County will provide a 25 percent local match, or $105,649, from the Beach Renourishment Trust Fund, which is funded by bed tax dollars paid on short-term lodging. The study is to begin in June.

Tuesday, May 7


Emerald Medical is a new medical marijuana practice for patients with qualifying conditions to receive their medical marijuana card. The practice has offices in Fort Myers and Naples and is locally owned and operated by longtime Southwest Florida doctors Dr. Robert J. Brueck and Dr. Donald W. Ketterhagen.  Dr. Andrew Ferber and Dr. Carl Schultz are also among the team of doctors seeing patients in Southwest Florida. Emerald Medical specializes in compassionate cannabis care. Its licensed physicians take a holistic approach that integrates medical marijuana with traditional and alternative treatments for qualifying conditions. For more information, visit

Maritrini Soto Garcia

Monday, May 6


Attorney Maritrini Soto Garcia has joined Pavese Law Firm and will be practicing in the areas of real estate, condominium and homeowners’ association law, and commercial and business law. Soto Garcia earned her associate’s degree from Edison State College (now Florida SouthWestern State College), bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University, and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Soto Garcia was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2019. Prior to joining Pavese Law Firm, Soto Garcia served as the executive managing editor of the Florida Journal of International Law. During law school, she was awarded the Lee County Association for Women Lawyers Scholarship and was recognized with the Helen Gibel Blechman Pro Bono Award.
Don’t wait until the end of the week to find out what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.