From the yellow bus that takes my children to and from school every day, to the textbooks they use to study math, science and reading, tourism enhances the quality of my children’s public education. Most of these families first came to Collier County as visitors and later became residents. That progression has led to new and expanded schools and new activities for our children and families. Additionally, the nation’s most successful charity wine festival, the Naples Winter Wine Festival, draws thousands of visitors to Collier County and has raised more than $107 million for underprivileged children in our county since 2001. Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades tourism works for our children.
Collier County’s vibrant arts and culture scene attracts many visitors, and those visitors keep our museums, theatres and studios open for business. Countless galleries support budding artists, and the 220 theatre performances every year give locals a chance to fulfill their passion of starring in plays and musicals. Not to mention, Artis-Naples brings Broadway shows, orchestra performances and musical acts to our area every year – which we can enjoy thanks to the demand created by tourists. Meanwhile, visitor spending funds museum operations which keep our area’s deep-rooted history alive. In fact, all our County-owned and operated museums are free thanks to tourism. Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades tourism works for arts and culture.
With 80% of Florida’s Paradise Coast dedicated to parks and nature preserves, sustaining our environment is incredibly important to me. Tourism helps fund dedicated employees who work daily to maintain the untouched beauty of the Everglades, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and everything in between. And, did you know Collier County is home to the only scientific study funded by tourism? Tourists pay for and participate in the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project, which keeps our resident bottlenose dolphin population thriving. I’m also thankful for my year-round access to our meticulously-maintained beaches, and the tourists who provide the tax revenue needed to keep our beaches beautiful and our inlets open. Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades tourism works for sustaining the environment.
We don’t all work in tourism, but tourism works for all of us. The 37,500+ people who work in the hospitality and tourism industry use their wages to purchase goods and services from businesses in our community. Those seeking work find plenty of year-round, full-time opportunities thanks to our healthy tourism industry. Whether it’s as an expedition cruise guide at the Naples Zoo, a marketing specialist for a resort or the owner of a small shopping boutique, Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades tourism keeps thousands of our friends, family and neighbors at work.