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September 19, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau has again recognized customer service professionals who have gone "above and beyond."

Now in its 14th year, the annual E Awards solicits nominations of front-line hospitality-related workers who have delivered "unbelievable customer service" within Lee County.

It's a notable recognition and we congratulate the 2014 winners selected from among a record 612 nominations:

- Honor of Distinction Winner:

Jim Niccum, Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers

- Accommodations Category Winner:

Cara Pennetti, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Sanibel

- Attractions Category Winner:

Captain Brian Holaway, Captiva

- Restaurants Category Winner:

Guillermo Espinoza, Courtyard by Marriott Gulf Coast Town Center, Fort Myers

- Transportation Category Winner:

Jason Barrett, Lee County Port Authority, Fort Myers,

- Other Services/Businesses Category Winner:

Peter Towle, Bailey's General Store, Sanibel

- Good Samaritan Category Winner:

Luke Wilcox, Fiber Solutions, Fort Myers

-Best Tourism Boss Winner:

Brian Holly, Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center, Fort Myers

Thank you for your efforts.

Tourism is a - if not the - leading economic driver in Lee County.

Consider, according to the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau website:

- In 2013 an estimated 4.8 million people visited Lee County, staying, on average, nine days.

- The direct impact of tourism spending in 2013 was $2.8 billion, a slight boost from the year before.

- In terms of taxes paid by visitors, $28.6 million in Tourism Tax dollars were collected

- Nearly 53,000 jobs - 20 percent of all employment in Lee County - are directly linked to tourism

Those are some pretty big numbers.

Also impressive is that 76 percent of those visiting were repeat visitors who reported that they had visited five times in the last five years, meaning they make Lee an annual destination.

That is due, in part, to the dedication of hospitality professionals like those recognized.

Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominees!

We invite readers to visit for more information on the program, the winners and a list of the honorees.

-Breeze editorial



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