Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Florida's Top 10 Visitor Destinations

Tourism is Florida’s largest industry.  No one can dispute that fact. So, of all of the possible visitor destinations in the state, what are the Sunshine State’s top 10?

This week, Talkin' Tourism on Florida's Treasure Coast hosts Robin Hicks-Connors and Gary Guertin go right to the top with our special guest Jill Martin, who is coming up from Miami for the show.

Jill is a “Family Insider” with VISIT FLORIDA, the state of Florida’s official promotions organization. To learn more about Jill's insight into Florida, check out the Jill Martin link on Visit Florida.

What Radio Man and History Lady want to know is…
  • With so many diverse destinations for families to pick from, what are currently Florida’s Top 10 Vacation Destinations?  
  • Does “Mickey” still reign supreme
  • Is Amelia Island in the mix?
  • How about Key West and the Florida Keys?  
You’ll find the answers to this and more as Jill also explains what VISIT FLORIDA does as a public/private partnership to promote the Sunshine State.

In addition, Radio Man promises an Islands of the Bahamas update.  Now, that the weather is warming and the seas are calming, many boaters and island enthusiasts will be crossing 'The Stream.'  History Lady will be full of local tidbits of information about what’s happening on the Treasure Coast and much more so tune in to this week’s show (Friday at 10 a.m. on WPSL 1590 AM or and join the fun. And don’t forget to check out the Talkin' Tourism Facebook page at, and become a Fan.

To see Jill in action in the Everglades, view the clip below!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Everything You Wanted to Know About Cruise Vacations and More

Another fast paced, information filled hour of Talkin Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast from the Captain’s Lounge of Harborage Yacht Club is 'history.' Before getting down to discussing the cruise industry, show hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors got caught up on their past week’s activities. From Gary sharing the fun and re-connects made at the St. Monica’s Anglican Church in East Stuart with FLAHAMIAN friends at a recent fish fry and guest celebrity judging the recent Single Fin Showdown Surf Contest to Robin attending the recent Triangle Bar “Last Call” auction where she bought her own bar stool, you never know what you will hear from these two!

Soon it was time to introduce the day’s guest, John Burson, a co-owner of Indian River Travel. As promised in the pre-show promotion, John has a wealth of knowledge on a huge segment of the tourism industry. Is there a typical profile for the prospective cruise customer? According to John, the answer is human being! Literally, persons of all ages, backgrounds, interests, and lifestyles are prospective cruise enthusiasts. Robin, the self-proclaimed Trip Nazi and experienced cruise enthusiast, asked many great questions that you will want to hear John address. Alaska, has been a popular cruise destination for years. Why are residents there concerned about the projected decrease in cruise ship passengers and what are they hoping to do about it? Was former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin involved? What will current governor Sean Parnell attempt to do to solve this problem? The answers to these questions and so much more about the cruise line industry were covered in today's show.

Despite best efforts, “Gary’s Paper Pile” did not decrease as much as expected, but progress was made. Gary did mention a limited time special offering from the Bahamas Celebration, which now cruises to the Bahamas from the Port of Palm Beach. If you missed the details, download the show HERE to get the scoop.

Thanks for listening and don’t forget to become a FAN on Talkin Tourism’s Facebook page. Would love to see you there, and invite your friends and family too.

Keep those comments and guest suggestions coming to

'See' you next week!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Ooo eee, ooo eee baby, won't you take me on a sea cruise?"

Those immortal lyrics, written in 1959 by Huey “Piano” Smith and first recorded by Frankie Ford and later recorded by 12 other artist and groups including the Beach Boys, Billy “crash” Craddock, Herman’s Hermits and Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, is the theme for this week's show.

Certainly cruise lines around the globe offer a tourism and vacation product that is extremely popular. With ships getting larger and larger and providing passage to world class destinations, Talkin' Tourism explores this mode of travel this week. John Burson, CTC, a partner in the regional travel agency Indian River Travel and one with 30 years in the travel industry, will be our tour guide. Beginning his agency with partner Ken Wall in 1980, Indian River Travel has grown from 1 full-time and 2 part-time employees to 24 employees and three regional locations. The agency “specializes in upscale, luxury travel with a focus on one-to-one relationships with clients," and that includes cruises all around the world. 

Talkin' Tourism on Florida's Treasure Coast hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors plan to pick John’s brain and investigate such topics as:  How has the global economic downturn impacted this segment of the industry? What are today’s most popular destinations? Tips for the first time cruiser? What tactics and strategies did the cruise industry engage in to stimulate business? And, much more.

In addition to this special topic, Gary and Robin will tackle “Gary’s Paper Pile." What’s that you ask? Well, there are only so many things that can be covered each week in the brief one hour duration of the show so this Friday will be the day to get “caught up” on “everything tourism” that just hasn't made it to the microphone.

Tune in LIVE on your radio dial (WSTU 1590 AM) or to the live streaming audio on the Internet ( at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 26. And, don’t forget to visit Talkin Tourism' on Facebook and become one of our Facebook fans!

See you Friday!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tourism impact of Spring Training, Arts and Culture

In the first half of this week’s show, Radio Man (aka Gary Guertin) was outnumbered 4 to 1 as the ArtsFest team and Robin chatted up the now concluded 23rd ArtsFest. From the cadre of volunteers represented by Allison Wigley, the artists represented by this year’s featured artist Meg Winter, Martin County arts community represented by Arts Council of Martin County Nancy Turrell and History Lady, Talkin' Tourism’s co-host (Robin Hicks-Connors) who occupies the arts and culture board position on the Martin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, no stone was left unturned! It is clear that visitors that have a passion for arts and culture, and both are an important “segment” of our overall tourism product. Listen in and gain a clearer understanding of the inner workings of this hallmark event and the passion expressed by our outstanding guests.

Soon the tables were turned as former major league professional and local Martin County icon Rusty Meachum and his two sons Reese and Russell joined the show. Back to a 4 to 1, this time with the 'boys' in charge, the discussion centered around the sport of professional baseball and it’s impact on the Florida tourism scene. With teams moving from Florida, once the spring training mecca, our state has lost ground to other sunny and warm locations such as Arizona. So, at the end of the day, who will prevail, the Cactus League of Arizona or the Grapefruit League of Florida? Only time will tell. Each state’s commitment to promoting this sport in their respective locales will tell the tale. While the economic impact figures were not on the front burner, what was on the front burner was Rusty’s obvious passion for the sport and his commitment to assisting youth in our area excel in this American tradition.

If you missed the show, download it HERE. Talkin' Tourism's goal is to help you stay on top of all things tourism along the Treasure Coast and beyond!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring means ArtsFest and Baseball on Florida's Treasure Coast

Daylight Savings Time is back. Hooray! Now we can participate in fun outdoor activites after work, and believe it or not, Saturday is the first day of Spring!

Speaking of Spring, this week’s show will cover Spring Training, the sport of professional baseball, and its impact past, present and future like it has never been covered before. Talkin' Tourism hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors have the pleasure of welcoming Stuart’s own Rusty Meachum to the show. Rusty was born and raised in Martin County and played all his amateur ball locally. Spanning 18 season’s, Rusty pitched for more than 1,500 innings for teams including the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and Huston Astros. With numerous teams now selecting Arizona for their spring training, can Florida regain its crown of “Spring Training Capitol”? Robin will give more information on the Elliott Museum’s fabulous baseball memorabilia collection. Could the Elliott become the “Winter Baseball Hall of Fame?" Tune in to hear the discussion.

Are we in Martin County or in the Caribbean? If you join the show this Friday and listen to our special guests representing the Arts Council and ArtsFest describing this weekend’s celebration of the arts in Martin County, then you just could be “limin’ under a palm tree” with your favorite boat drink in hand! This 23rd year of arts celebration will be described in great detail by this year’s featured artist, Meg Winter, Arts Council Executive Director Nancy Turrell and ArtsFest Committee Member Alison Wigley. What's the entertainment?  Rum and Martini Bar? Anything for kids? And, how many artists? Answers to those questions and more on Friday.

Also on tap:  Bahamas update, "This Week in Martin County History," the Treasure Coast's shuffleboard  center, and just about anything else that pops into Gary and Robin’s heads.

The adventure begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 19. On the radio, tune to WPSL 1590 AM; via computer, point your browser to

Monday, March 15, 2010

Polo and Edu-tainment for Kids on Florida's Treasure Coast

The latest Talkin' Tourism on Florida's Treasure Coast started off with an impromptu annual board meeting called by show host and 'chairman' Gary Guertin. A quorum was present (that would be Gary and Robin). The audio files of the last 59 shows (aka 'minutes') were approved as submitted. Board member comments included, but were not limited to (1) Robin reporting on a great 'Field of Dreams' reception involving The Elliott Museum and (2) Gary announcing Harborage Yacht Club & Marina's partnership with the Sea Ray Owners Club. The 'financial report' indicated there is a growing need to seek show sponsors now that the show has a proven track-record after being on the air for over one year. With no further business to discuss, Robin motioned for adjournment.

Moving on to the topics of the day, Sean Clem, the director of marketing for Sunlight Saddle and Polo Club, was not at a loss of words. Sean described all of the equestrian-related activities going on at the converted 6,000-acre working ranch. Listeners who are polo enthusiasts might be aware of the many variations of polo that exist around the world, but Sean introduced one that left Gary and Robin speechless. If you're interested in learning how to play polo, Sean told listeners they don't need to have their own horse. Sunlight Saddle and Polo offers a complete package that will have you participating in the sport before you know it.

Next up were Tammy Calabria from the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast and Christina Wagner, director of education and exhibits at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, to highlight fun educational activities for kids on the Treasure Coast. The kid activity “experts” shared the microphone with special 'kid correspondent,' Tommy Dolan, who is visiting the area from Maryland. Tommy  gave the 'kid's' perspective and as a home schooled student through the State of Maryland, Tommy shared he actually gets “snow days” here in Florida when his 'classmates' in Maryland get snowed in. Not a bad deal!

If you missed the show, you can download or listen to it HERE.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Polo and Kid-Centric Activities on the Treasure Coast

This Friday, Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast discusses chukkers, mallets, ponies and a sport that dates back to the 4th and 5th century BC. The “Game of Kings” coming to Martin County? No, not coming…it is already here!

Join hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors as they meet with Sean Clem, the marketing director of the Sunlight Polo & Saddle Club, to learn about this new and exciting recreational opportunity for area residents and visitors.

“Horsing around” is big business, attracting participants and polo fans from around the world. What used to be a 6,000-acre working ranch has been transformed into a world class equestrian facility. In addition to its polo fields and related amenities, Sunlight Saddle and Polo Club encompasses the needs for all equestrian enthusiasts. Learn more about the club's popular "Friday Nights Under the Lights." Bring on the champagne, strawberries and caviar!

A subject that Talkin' Tourism has not yet specifically touched on is what kid-centric activities can be found on the Treasure Coast. Two of this week's guests will give listeners a run down. Meet Tammy Calabria, the executive director of the Children’s Museum, which is located in Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach, and Christina Wagner, the director of education and exhibits at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island. Not only will Tammy and Christina enlighten and inform listeners about the fun opportunities for children at their respective facilities, they will provide our listeners with the broader view of the “pixie dust” that is available right here on the Treasure Coast for kids. From feeding the stingrays at the Coastal Center, interactive Car Care Exhibit at the Children’s Museum, to fishing clinics and youth sailing instruction at the U.S. Sailing Center in Jensen Beach, the Treasure Coast offers a lot of activities for the younger ones.

Later in the show the discussion will turn to PediCabs and other fun activities you don’t want to miss.

Tune in Friday at 10 a.m. (WPSL 1590 AM or and have fun with another great show as 'Radio Man' and 'History Lady' talk tourism.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Commissioner's Perspective and Surfin' Florida USA

After last week's live remote from Costa d'Este, which Gary had fun hyping to Robin since she missed out on the experience, both were ensconced back at Harborage Yacht Club & Marina and were back on track.  Before tourism talk could resume, both shared highpoints from the past two weeks. First, Robin shared that the Historical Society received an Addy from the Treasure Coast Ad Federation and Gary shared he'd been appointed to a national marina legislation committee and served on a LEADERSHIP Martin County economic panel, representing the marine and tourism industries. Congratulations to both!

Martin County Commission Board Chairman Doug Smith was first up this week and shared with listeners his thoughts on a variety of local, regional and state industry issues. Commissioner Smith also shared his opinon on offshore oil drilling in Florida. Other topics discussed included collaboration among tourism stakeholders and whether a convention center was in the future.

Next up were Justin Beard, the director of communications for the United Way of Martin County and Jordan Schwartz, owner of Ohana Surf Shop on Hutchinson Island. Both got the Talkin' Tourism hosts in the groove for the upcoming Stuart Single Fin Showdown surf contest, an event purposely designed to be a great seaside family event. And, whether you are a surf dude or dudette, or even a spectator, a fun day should be enjoyed by all. Jordan promises the surf gods are predicting a good swell for the event. History Lady had a hand in this year’s event and is hosting the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project at the Elliott Museum. Cowabunga! Robin!!

Next, the show took a side trip to old Cape Cod. "Moonlight and sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there," thanks for the memories Patti Page.

Last, lyrical tourism? Will someone eventually write and record the Treasure Coast anthem? Where are you Mr. Buffett?

If you missed the show, this week's audio can be downloaded HERE. Enjoy your weekend! See you next Friday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Surf Boards, Commission Boards, and Old Cape Cod

This week Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast is back in the Captain’s Lounge of Harborage Yacht Club and Marina. What’s up this week? The surf! Guest Justin Beard, the communications and marketing director at the United Way of Martin County, joins History Lady and Radio Man to promote and chat about the 2010 Stuart Single Fin Showdown surf contest slated for March 20 to benefit the United Way. Based on the success of last year’s inaugural event, this year’s contest should be terrific.

Learn how many contest participants are expected from out of town, the profile of the average participant and their families, what professional surfers are expected to make appearances, and how the Elliott Museum ties into the event. Will Radio Man agree to serve as a judge this year? Tune in to learn the answer to this question and more.

Current Martin County Board of County Commissioners Chairman and representative to the Martin County Tourist Development Council (TDC) Doug Smith will also be joining the show this week. Martin County's support and recognition of the importance of tourism industry in the county is vital to the industy's ultimate success.

Topics up for discussion with Commissioner Smith include whether the opportunity for collaboration with tourism officials in St. Lucie and Indian River counties exists, his thoughts on the prospect of offshore oil drilling, his vision of the future for tourism in Martin County, and whatever else Gary or Robin may throw his way.

Next up, Cape Cod. This week, one of the best-selling female artists in traditional pop music from the 1950's—Patti Page—was honored on the Cape. Why? And how does it have anything to do with tourism?  Listen ito this Friday's show and you'll know why.

Last, we'll touch upon songs like Girl From Ipanema, April in Paris, I Left My heart in San Francisco, Kokomo, and Margaritaville. All certainly promote destinations and cities, real or imagined. Do song lyrics promote tourism? Gary and Robin we'll give you their thoughts on Friday.

This Friday at 10 a.m., tune your radio dial to WPSL 1590 AM or your computer to to enjoy the next live show of Talkin' Tourism on Florida's Treasure Coast with your hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Vero Beach--A Quaint Seaside Destination with Exceptional Standards!

Doing a radio program from the top floor penthouse suite of one of the top 10 celebrity owned hotels in the world is not tough duty. Thanks to the generous hospitality of Monica Smiley, director of sales for the Costa d’Este Beach Resort in beautiful Vero Beach, Florida, Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast reached new heights…literally.

Host Gary Guertin and special guest co-host Ed Griffith, the general manager of the Courtyard Marriott Hutchinson Island, had the pleasure of spending a great and informative hour with Monica, Indian River County tourism director Susan Hunt and photographer Susie Canino.

The range of topics covered was broad. Monica shared with listeners the top of the line amenities, features and exceptional service philosophy that makes Costa d'Este Beach Resort one of the best. Susan Hunt described in great detail many of the attractions, activities and events that have continued to attract valued seasonal residents and visitors alike to this quaint seaside town. One thing we learned in today's show is that Vero Beach and Indian River County likes to eat and party! If you ever wondered how much seafood is consumed during the famous Grant Seafood Festival by 50,000 attendees, this show answers that question. If you are not a seafood fan, you could have gone Italian! The Italian American Civic Association in Vero produces an annual Italian fest that's in its 25th year.

Photographer Susie Canino has carved out a niche for her photography business—PS Photography—and partner’s with Costa d’ Este Beach Resort. Bubbling with enthusiasm , she's passionate about her work!  Listen in and discover what exactly her niche is. Here's a hint---it entails a brides wedding gift for her new husband.

Destinations with no boundaries, exceptional service standards, Vero Beach fun facts, and more are all a part of  the show. We didn't have a chance to discuss “Vero Man." We'll do that on a future show when the focus is on Archeological Tourism.

You can download the February 26 show of Talkin' Tourism on Florida's Treasure Coast HERE. And, below is a photo album from this week's live remote. Enjoy!

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