Thursday, February 25, 2010

In search of Carl Hiaasen, Gloria Estefan, John Walsh, and Steve Case.

Vero Beach, here we come!  So what's with the blog's title if Talkin' Tourism is headed to Vero Beach? According to Wikipedia, all three are notable residents of Vero Beach.

As we have demonstrated in the past, Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast does not always have to cross the Gulf Stream in order to do a live remote broadcast, although it is pretty darn fun! This week Gary and Robin cruise up the coast to Vero Beach in Indian River County to explore another great resort property, Costa d’Este Beach Resort Thanks to the generosity of Monica Smiley, director of sales for this Personal Luxury Resort, we'll take listeners on a personal and up close look at this Treasure Coast gem.

Also joining us this week will be Susan Hunt, the director of tourism for Indian County, and Susie Canino, a photographer and co-founder of PS Photography, who has teamed up with a number of Indian River properties. Sounds like we'll be discussing the merits of collaboration among industry stakeholders.

Other topics up for discussion:  Vero Beach is listed as one of the 100 Best Art Towns in the USA, what’s happening to Dodgertown now that the Dodgers have left, who or what is “Vero Man," and Pelican Island, possibly the very first wildlife refuge in the United States.

This week’s show will once again be packed with information to keep you abreast of all you need to know about Treasure Coast tourism and the players who make it happen.

Tune your radio dial  to WPSL 1590 AM on Friday (February 26) at 10 a.m. or catch the show on your computer at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Literature meets Tourism

The latest episode of Talkin' Tourism proved that tourists do not have to take a reading test before taking a vacation and that Literacy Tourism is certainly alive, well and growing. Stuart based author Paul McElroy brought his characters to life and described that in many cases there may be no difference between fact and fiction. Promoting the Treasure Coast from Hyannis, Massachusetts to Las Vegas, Nevada, conducting book signings, and attending other literary events, Paul certainly describes how literary tourism works to the benefit of a destination.

Show hosts Robin Hicks-Connors and Gary Guertin had a great time chatting with Paul. Who knows? Perhaps some day Radio Man and History Lady may end up being a character in one of Paul’s books! Ah, the mystery and intrigue!

Most people may think of libraries as dull, unexciting and a place where a matronly librarian does nothing but sort books, file catalogue cards and says "shhhhh!" Judi Snyder, the Assistant Director of Public Service for the Martin County Library System definitely put that concept to rest. Libraries are “happening.” Events such as BookMania!, book signings, author lectures and much more bring not only locals but definitely attract out of town guests.

Besides this week’s special guests, the show was packed with everything from an Abaco Junkanoo update, Sir Richard Branson’s “one of a kind” flying submarine available to guest of his 105 foot catamaran “Necker Belle” (available for $88,000 per week) in the British Virgin Islands, the rebirth of VISIT Florida’s “Share a Little Sunshine” campaign and much more.

If you missed the live show, you can download the February 19 episode of Talkin' Tourism HERE.

Thanks for listening and see you next week with more fun and information.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Booked this Week---Literary Tourism

Certainly by now listeners have come to realize that there are many different types of  tourism—ecotourism, geotourism, sports tourism, heritage tourism and more. As Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast continues to bring our listeners the latest in tourism trends and information, hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors will keep you on the cutting edge of this fascinating industry.

What’s up this week? Literary Tourism. No, this does not mean that you have to pass a reading test or create a bibliography before going on your next vacation. Literary Tourism is defined as: a type of cultural tourism that deals with places and events from fictional texts as well as the lives of their authors. This could include following the route a fictional character charts in a novel, visiting particular settings from a story or tracking down the haunts of a novelist.

To explore this tourism segment, Gary and Robin have invited Stuart-based author Paul McElroy to share the airwaves. Paul has penned a number of great mystery novels, which include history, events, places and locations on the Treasure Coast. Some of Paul’s work includes Treasure Coast Deceit, Treasure Coast Gold and Treasure Coast Archipelago. Strap yourself in—Mr. McElroy is quite a character.

Next we'll find out if and how literary tourism impacts Treasure Coast libraries and book stores. Judi Snyder, Associate Director of Public Services at the Martin County Library System, will provide more insight on the library system's annual Book Mania!, which just completed its 16th year.

Each and every Talkin' Tourism helps keep you up on Treasure Coast events and happenings, Bahamas updates, giveaways and lots of fun. You never know what surprises are in store or what unannounced guests might make an unexpected appearance in our studio. Tune in to WPSL 1590 AM or this Friday (Feb 19) at 10 a.m. to enjoy the show (and fun) live from the Captain’s Lounge at Harborage Yacht Club and Marina.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Share a Little Sunshine Campaign Re-Launching Today

Today in Miami, Governor Crist helped re-launch the Share a Little Sunshine campaign. The Florida tourism industry challenges all Floridians to do just that---Share a Little Sunshine.

The video below tells you why and more details are listed below. To learn more about the campaign and to send an invitation, visit

Share a Little Sunshine---The cause? Helping our state's economy by helping encourage tourism - an industry responsible for a million Florida jobs and about a fifth of the state's economy.

How can you help? Send a postcard or invitation to friends or family. It's as easy as that. Each invitation carries with it a special discount or offer - to friends and family of Floridians. So you're not only sharing Florida sunshine, you're also sharing Florida opportunities.

What's in for you? When you love Florida, Florida loves you back. In addition to helping your own state's economy, we'll thank you by entering you to win a Sunshine vacation.

It's really simple. When you send an invitation, the person you invite gets your invitation plus a special offer. You get entered for a chance to win a Florida vacation, and Florida's economy may benefit from another visitor.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Entertainment a Big Part of the Treasure Coast

A focus on entertainment is definitely an important feature when prospective visitors select a destination for their holiday (as they say in the UK) or vacation. Believe it or not, there has actually been research done by leading research companies on this matter that proves this observation. The Treasure Coast certainly has a grip on this aspect of the destination product. Today’s guests enthusiastically agreed and are committed to making entertainment a big part of the regional scene.

Guest Renee Page, marketing director for the Sunrise Theatre, eloquently spoke about the history of this landmark located in downtown Ft. Pierce. The original founder/builder of the theatre, Rupert “Pop” Koblegard, who purchased a large amount of land on Hutchinson Island to develop, realized that there had to be an entertainment venue to make the area attractive. History certainly does repeat itself. Learn more by listening to the show.

Next up was the events coordinator of the downtown MusicFest Downtown Stuart, Desiree Bonnie, a former Martin county High School Academy of Travel and Tourism graduate, who along with Chris Frambes orchestrates the monthly MusicFest Downtown Stuart, which takes place every third Friday in Gazebo Park, which is adjacent to the Cultural Courthouse Arts Center on N.E. Ocean Boulevard. This fun, charming event is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. Desiree is truly excited about her contribution to making Stuart a “fun and entertaining” destination.

Surprise guest, famed Brazilian guitarist, now Martin County resident, Ari Mendez aka “The Boy from Ipanema," who provided the entertainment along with Steve Rose for the “Valentine’s Night in Italy” fundraiser held February 11th at Harborage Yacht Club, was in the studio and played a few licks on the guitar. Talkin' Tourism is going “top 10!" Not really, but it was different! Ari’s family owns and operates several hotels in Brazil. Ari was thrilled to help promote the Treasure Coast to his countrymen in South America.

It was another fun and enlightening show with many other “gems of tourism info” filling the hour.

If you didn't catch the live show, fire up your computer, click HERE, sit back, pour your favorite “boat drink” and escape to the paradise of the Treasure Coast.

NOTE:  Renee Page from the Sunrise Theatre was in the REAL radio studio (WPSL) for this interview, but she kindly supplied the photos below for the post-show blog. This is a group shot of a promotion the theatre did for the Wedding Singer. Six couples renewed their vows at the black box before the show. All the ushers dressed up in wedding gowns. Renee is the bridesmaid. Talk about living theatre!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Week, It's all about Show Business!

Exciting destinations are know for creating a great mix of opportunities for visitors to relax, refresh and enjoy while “getting away from it all," from great recreation to dining and shopping, to thrills and adventures and more. An important part of the mix certainly is the opportunity to enjoy great entertainment. Entertainment venues abound on the Treasure Coast and this week, Talkin' Tourism on Florida's Treasure Coast hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors spend time with two guests who represent this segment of the tourism industry.

Renee Page, the marketing director of the Sunrise Theatre in Ft. Pierce, will share with listeners the exciting shows that this Treasure Coast historic theatre brings to the Treasure Coast, and the role entertainment plays in creating a culturally rich destination.

Also, Desiree Bonnie (photo on the left), the special events coordinator of the downtown Stuart MusicFest, a popular monthly Friday music festival, will talk about how this casual and fun event got started and why it became so popular for locals and visitors alike. Yes, folks there is no business like show business, except for the tourism business!

As always…History Lady and Radio Man will keep you in the loop with everything you need to know about tourism happenings on the Treasure Coast and beyond.

Tune in Friday at 10 a.m.. You can catch the show live on your radio dial at 1590 AM (WPSL) or on your computer at


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Feb 5 Show Recap--Hotels, Presidents, Festivals & Sharks

Another great show for those who listened, and for those who will listen to the show after the fact.

This weekend another annual local event is expected to attract thousands---30,000 in fact, comprised of both locals and visitors! Details of the 9th annual Hobe Sound Arts Festival, which takes place February 6-7, was Hobe Sound Chamber president Wayne Klick’s contribution to the show. One hundred and fifty vendors will participate and he promises there will truly be something for everyone. The best part is that it’s all FREE! Congratulations to Hobe Sound Chamber executive director Jennifer Ferrari and her volunteer staff for coordinating another great event.

Yes, fatal shark attacks are extremely rare and a tragedy when they occur, particularly when it occurs in your area. Regrettably, Stuart lost a great waterman this past week. Condolences and sympathy on the tragic loss are extended to the family and friends of Stephen Schafer. To help put this incident in its proper perspective, Florida Oceanographic Society executive director Mark Perry shared his scientific thoughts on the subject. The biggest question is--will this incident impact tourism on the Treasure Coast and in Florida for the remainder of the winter season?

The newly elected president of the Hotel/Motel Association of Martin County, Ed Griffith, who is also the general manager of the Courtyard Hutchinson Island/Jensen Beach, along with Katie Wacha, owner/operator of The Inn at Tilton Place in Jensen Beach, and Jacque Lewis, the general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott of Stuart,  shared their thoughts on the current tourist season. Listen in to find out if they are meeting their expectations and goals, whether visitors changing their booking habits, and their prospects for the rest of the season.

Lots of other information was discussed on great events and activities happening in our area. Don’t miss out. Download this week’s show HERE, to be "in the know" on tourism news along Florida's Treasure Coast and beyond.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hotels, Presidents, Festivals & Sharks

Now that we were are hitting the height of the season, the Talkin' Tourism team thought it would be fitting to have lodging representatives share with the listening audience how the season has been thus far and what their projections are for the remainder of season.
Joining us this week are Katie Wacha, owner/operator of The Inn at Tilton Place, located in Jensen Beach, Jacque Lewis, general manager of the new Courtyard by Marriott, and Ed Griffith, general manager of the Courtyard Hutchinson Island Oceanside Jensen Beach. Each property is different and offers guest a range of services. Listen in to hear highlights and amenities offered by each property and learn what makes them unique from the other properties in the area.

This week, a local kite surfer lost his life after a shark attack at Stuart Beach in Martin County. Truly a very, very rare and tragic incident. Mark Perry, executive director of the Stuart based Florida Oceanographic Society, will share his knowledge about shark behavior in this area and why this incident may have occurred.

Art anyone? If the answer is "yes," then you won’t want to miss Hobe Sound Chamber president Wayne Klick talkin' details about the 9th annual Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts this Saturday and Sunday. How many vendors? Is admission FREE? Organizers promise here will be something for everyone!

As always, Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast keeps you on the cutting edge of tourism related information and news. Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. on WPSL 1590 or via your

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Talkin' Tourism blog 'pick-up'

Check out this online news source--AmericanTowns-- that is carrying excerpts from the Talkin' Tourism blog!

Thanks for including us AmericanTowns!

Jan 29 Show Recap: Sports, Super Bowl Housing, Festivals and Offshore Drilling take center stage.

After last week’s “studio” being a wide and airy veranda overlooking the Straits of Florida, Harborage Yacht Club's Captain’s Lounge seemed a little cramped. On second thought, it could have been because we had so many great guests!

Leading off the show was Treasure Coast Sports Commission executive director Tom Colucci. With spring training days away, a new aquatics center being approved in Martin County, several other key events such as the Treasure Coast Regatta, NJCAA Swimming and Diving championships and the FHSAA Baseball Finals coming up in the next several months, sports tourism will certainly make a mark. As a side note, Tom was a guest on the very first show of Talkin' Tourism over one year ago!

Want to turn your home or condo into a short term rental for a big event? Texas based call-in guest Christina Karpinski, director of HomeAway’s Owner Community, shared some great tips on the do’s and don’ts of this potential opportunity and offered advice on avoiding some of the pitfalls to ensure a positive experience.

Butch Olsen Jr. and Randy Roberts wowed listeners with what they would find at this year's Port Salerno Seafood Festival. New components include pirates, mermaids, The Captain’s Club and more. What won't be new? Seafood, seafood and more seafood. Thosands of people are expected to descend on the sleepy village of Port Salerno for this annual family-friendly event. Congratulations to Barbara Slaten and Peter Voethroeder, both of Port St. Lucie, each winners of a VIP Package to the Port Salerno Seafood Festival. Special thanks to the Seafood Festival Committee for providing the special gift, and thank you listeners for lighting up Harborage Yacht Club's telephone board!

As promised, Talkin' Tourism on Florida’s Treasure Coast is keeping listeners up to date with the views and opinions on drilling for oil off Florida’s coastline as close as three miles offshore, as will be discussed in this year’s legislative session. Surfrider Foundation, Treasure Coast Chapter board member Carter Hall detailed the opinions of this 90,000+ national organization. Some of the topics Carter covered included (1) are the potential risks worth jeopardizing the State’s tourism industry and (2) how long is it estimated to be before this oil actually hits the pumps? It is a big decision and Talkin' Tourism will continue to provide information to help you make a personal decision on this topic.

If you missed the show, or just want to listen in again, you can download it HERE.

See you next week!
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