Monday, November 28, 2011

Stuart, Florida—Small town, big fun!

Patty O-Connell, Rachel Snyder and Thondra Lanese
painted the holiday flavor of Downtown Stuart.
Talkin’ Tourism’s hometown of Stuart, Florida was well represented by three outstanding guests this week. With the focus on small town destination tourism and the upcoming holidays, Talkin’ Tourism listeners became very well versed about all the attributes that make Stuart, Florida a model of downtown revitalization success.

Thondra Lanese, project manager for the City of Stuart Community Redevelopment Agency, provided historical background on the Florida Main Street Program, which has been instrumental in Historic Downtown Stuart’s revitalization success. Initiated 23 years ago, the process is still moving forward with great vision. Thondra also noted how this effort has help grow the tourism industry in the community. 

A downtown would not be successful without a group of dedicated merchants. President of the Downtown Business Association, Patty O’Connell, shared how the merchants, along with the Stuart Main Street members, are collaboratively working toward common goals. She was especially proud of the recent article  in Coastal Living Magazine showcasing Stuart a national audience. 

Activities abound in Stuart, especially during the holiday season. Stuart Main Street board member Rachael Snyder ran down all the special holiday events on the calendar, including holiday boat parades, tree lighting festivities, music events and more.

Whether a resident or visitor to the City of Stuart, this episode shared a lot of great information about this thriving waterfront town. Here's the audio file from this (November 25) episode of Talkin' Tourism.

Thanks for listening and special thanks to the Stuart Coffee Company for allowing us to broadcast live from their great new shop.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Let the Shopping Begin! Black Friday from Downtown Stuart

Today Talkin’ Tourism is broadcasting live from downtown Stuart, Florida. This small waterfront community has seen a lot of changes over the last two decades. What was once a downtown that had essentially been deserted with the arrival of a regional mall, is now a vibrant, exciting and lively hub of energy for both residents and visitors alike. It is often said that the quality of life of a community’s residents benefit from a commitment to tourism promotion as a part of their overall economic development. This transformation came through the tireless efforts of many individuals who had a vision of what could happen through a shared vision. Talkin’ Tourism has invited several guests who are in leadership positions with organizations that are making things happen.

To showcase the role of municipal government, Thondra Lanese, a project manager with the City of Stuart Community Redevelopment Agency, will be in the studio. Thondra wears numerous hats in her role to keep the City on the forefront of community redevelopment. Also joining us will be Patty O’Connell, president of the Downtown Business Association; and Rachael Snyder, a board member of the Stuart Main Street Program. The holiday season is here and the group will share with listeners all the exciting events and activities that make downtown Stuart, Florida a fantastic small town destination, and especially one during the holidays.

Join us at 10:05 a.m., ( or WPSL 1590 AM) broadcasting live in downtown Stuart from the Stuart Coffee Company!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sailfish Tournament Season is HERE!

Talkin' Tourism co-host Robin Hicks-Connors with the
Treasure Coast fishing experts, Marty Romstadt,
Ed Killer, Capt. Jim Nester, and Capt. Andy Kubiak.
It’s not hard to realize that sailfish tournament season is right around the corner on the Treasure Coast. Dock talk is all about "the bite” and seasoned captains, anglers and mates are heading offshore in increasing numbers to pursue this elusive billfish. It was great to have the Treasure Coast's resident fishing guru, Ed Killer, back behind the microphone. Ed gave a perfect recap of how sportfishing led to the birth of the Treasure Coast's tourism industry. What's even more interesting is why years ago visitors asked commercial fishermen to take them fishing. The answer certainly surprised Talkin' Tourism hosts Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors.

In addition to Ed, representatives from three of the area's major sailfish tournaments carried on the fish talk. First, Marty Romstadt, tournament director of the Finest Kind's annual Sailfish Tournament, The Quickie, gave details on this tournament and how it has grown over the last 10 years. This tournament in a sense is a “tournament within a tournament." What the heck does that mean, you ask? Can you say "Calcutta"? If your curiosity is piqued (or you like Calcutta's) and you missed Friday's show, you can check out all the details by listening to Talkin' Tourism's annual salute to Sailfish Tournament (November 18) show here.

The next tournament in the Treasure Coast sailfish line-up is the Pirate's Cove Sailfish Classic. Celebrating its 24th year, the “Classic” has earned its place among world class sailfish events. Capt. Jim Nester, the Pirates Cove dock master, shared with us why the Classic is classic. 

Next, heading into its 58th year, veteran Capt. Andy Kubiak led the discussion on the the Stuart Sailfish Club’s Annual Light Tackle Tournament. After 58 years, keeping any tournament "fresh" can be a challenge. Not so with the Stuart Sailfish Club! This year they have some great events planned, many that are open to the public. Want to enjoy some tasty chowder? There’s a night for that. Want to attend a luau? Well, there is a night for that too!

Bests of luck to all of the captain’s, anglers and mates who will be competing in this year’s tournaments, and thanks for keeping the sportfishing tradition alive and well on the Treasure Coast. 

See you on the docks!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's sailfish tournament time on the Treasure Coast!

For decades, Stuart, Florida has been known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. As a matter of fact, the early days of tourism promotion in the Stuart, Martin County Florida area revolved around the annual cycle of masses of sailfish that moved through the region from November through February. This tradition continues today. For the next three months, world class captains, anglers and mates will be competing for honor, glory and bragging rights as the sailfish tournament season gets underway along the Treasure Coast. This Friday we will bring you insight into the regional sailfish tournament scene and how the majestic sailfish has molded our region into a major sportfishing destination and tourism generator.

Talkin’ Tourism
resident fishing and boating guru, Ed Killer will be with us at Sailfish Marina on the Manatee Pocket to provide historical perspective on the tournament scene and to share his perspective on this year’s round of tournaments.

The first local tournament, the Finest Kind Quickie will be represented by Krista Chasmar. The youngest tournament in the trio, the "Quickie" has rapidly gained the reputation of being a great event. Next is the Pirate’s Cove Sailfish Classsic, the first tournament in the Treasure Coast Sailfish Championship Series. The Stuart Sailfish Club’s 58th Annual Light Tackle Tournament, one of the country’s oldest, will be represented by Tournament Committee co-chair Char Griggs. The Stuart Sailfish Club is credited with being the first tourism promotion group on the Treasure Coast.
So Talkin’ Tourism fans and fishing fanatics, settle into your fighting chairs (or lounge chairs), drop the outriggers and troll for an informative and fun show. Let’s go fishing!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The plane, the plane! No, it's not Fantasy Island. It's the Stuart Airshow!

Stuart Air Show Military Acts Coordinator Dennis Crow
with Talkin' Tourism hosts Gary Guertin & Robin Hicks-Conners.
With one of the most popular events on the Treasure Coast hours away from opening, Talkin’ Tourism was right in the thick of the excitement of the Stuart Air Show pre-opening activities. While pre-show flight briefings kept pilots from appearing on the show as hoped, our guests did a great job of sharing some of the highlights and behind the scenes information with our listeners.

General aviation is a big part of the tourism scene. David Smith, general manager of Galaxy Aviation and our host for the show, provided some great insights as to the importance of this market niche. If you are not sure about what types of concierge services a fixed based operation (FBO) provides its customers, you will have a much better idea after you listen to the show. First class all the way!

Next up on the guest panel was George Stokus, airport manager for Martin County’s Witham Field. Relatively new to the post, George’s expertise is second to none. Coordinating all of the regulatory agencies that are involved in producing an air show is no small task. If you ever wondered what an airport manager does, this episode of Talkin' Tourism helped answer that question.

Getting to the key topic of the day was Dennis Crow. While officially the military acts coordinator, Dennis has been with the air show for 10 years and was a wealth of information. Putting on a multiple-day event of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of coordination and Talkin' Tourism's show host Gary Guertin and Talkin' Tourism co-producer Misti Guertin actually enjoyed experiencing some of that at the Friday night pre-show event—The Dirty Flight Suit Party. Aerobatics, fireworks, music (the Amber Leigh Band), food, fun, excitement and lots of spectators sums it up!

The Stuart Air Show is now in the history books for another year. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to its success. Job well done!

Here's the audio file for this week's Talkin' Tourism Stuart Airshow episode and below are few video clips from Friday night's Dirty Flight Suit Party:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Annual Salute to Pineapples, Rum and Sister City Connections

Max Leary, Robin Hicks-Connors, Christopher Cook (back),
Susan Culmer, Gary Guertin (back), Jody Clifford and
Kingley Bethel "backstage" after the live radio show.
Returning to a broadcast venue after a year has passed means a lot of catching up, and that is exactly what Talkin’ Tourism’s Gary Guertin and Robin Hicks-Connors did this show. Jody Clifford, Maritime and Classic Boat Museum’s executive director, brought listeners and the Talkin' Tourism team, up to speed on new activities, programs and member events, along with the scheduled exhibits visitors will find.

Moving along to the 3rd Annual Rum Runner Party, committee member and museum social media guru Christopher Cooke let us in on some of the fun, music, food and libations attendees will be treated to at this rum-inspired event planned on November 18 at The Mansion at Tuckahoe. It sounds like a party fit for the real Bill McCoy. This annual event is the museum's key fundraiser. Expect an array of extraordinary live auction items to be auctioned off by legendary auctioneer Karlin Daniels. What’s on the auction block? A stay in a private home in Hope Town on Elbow Cay, Abaco, as well as a vacation in a 17 million dollar private residence in Hawaii No skimping on these auction packages! For the right price, they could be your's.

With the kick-off of the Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival, Talkin’ Tourism was very grateful to welcome back several members of the Eleuthera/Jensen Beach Travel Club, who stopped by to say hello. Every year, the Jensen Beach, Florida/Gregory Town, Eleuthera Sister City relationship is celebrated. This brings a flock of Eleutherans to Jensen Beach to celebrate and provide “our” Pineapple Festival with an authentic touch of the “real Bahamas." As usual, past show guests Max Leary, Kingsley Bethel and Susan Culmer shared their enthusiasm for the Treasure Coast and why they like to return year after year. It's time for Treasure Coast adventurers to gather together and plan a trip to Eleuthera in June to visit the Bahama's side festival in June. Anyone ready?

So listeners and fans, pour yourself a rum libation, then sit back and enjoy your own personal episode of our annual salute to pineapples, rum and sister city connections!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rum and Pineapples

It's been a while since we last broadcast a show from the Maritime and Classic Boat Museum located in Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach, Florida and this week that's where we will be broadcasting from!

In addition to showcasing one of the area’s best nautical museums, we'll be covering a great annual event they have in store for locals and visitors alike—the 3rd Annual Real McCoy Rum Runner Party! Based upon early  history, the theme is certainly fitting as the Treasure Coast area played a significant role in the ol’ rum running days. Museum executive director Jody Clifford will be on hand along with other museum leaders to share the good times that are being planned for attendee’s. 

Also, this weekend is a big weekend for a Sister City celebration. The Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival, the largest festival on the Treasure Coast, kicks off this weekend. For over 20 years, Jensen Beach, Florida and Gregory Town, Eleuthera have celebrated their kinship as former major producers of pineapples, the international symbol of hospitality.Via the coconut telegraph, we hear that another strong contingent of Eleutherans are in town and will make a guest appearance on the show. It was a rockin’ show last year so we expect more of the same once again!

See you Friday morning at 10:05 am on WPSL 1590 AM or streaming live at for this week’s broadcast of Talkin’ Tourism.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All hands on deck for The Bahamas!

Talkin' Tourism host Gary Guertin, MOB manager Shamine Johnson
Port Lucaya Marina manager Karen Pinder, Ft. Lauderdale
Bahamas Tourist Office general manager Earl Millier,
Out Island Promotion Board president Shamine Johnson,
Out Islands Promotion Board senior director of marketing
Valery Brown-Alce, and consultant to the Bimini Big Game Club/
Guy Harvey Outpost Resort Chris Pollock.
There can be no doubt after broadcasting LIVE from the 52nd Annual Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show that marine tourism is alive and well. As has been the mantra since the show went on the air, the fact that the Islands of the Bahamas are so close to South Florida and the Treasure Coast that what happens on one side of the Gulf Stream impacts marine tourism on the other side. 

Here are a few boat show facts that illustrate the impact and size of this show:  (1) there were are total of 1,800 boats on display; (2) the total value of boats and accessories on display was 3 billion dollars; (3) estimated attendance was projected at 150,000. Yes, marine tourism and boating are BIG business and The Islands of the Bahamas, with over 100,000 square miles pristine boating waters are hoping to capitalize on this segment of the tourism industry. 

Jeanne Gibson from the Bahamas Tourism Office
capturing the show on film!

It was our pleasure to have a number of the key players in the Bahamas tourism industry on the show. All are leaders in the promotion of the vertical markets of fishing, boating diving and outdoor pursuits. Sitting in as guest co-host was Earl Miller, the general manager of the Ft. Lauderdale Bahamas Tourist Office. A veteran of the marine tourism industry, Earl shared his thoughts on how the Bahamas is focused on enhancing the boater experience. Also, providing great insights as to why you should visit the Out Islands were Valery Brown-Alce, a senior director of marketing for the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board, and Chavonne Darville, the president of the Out Island Promotion Board. Shamine Johnson, manager of the Marina Operators of the Bahamas (MOB), explained how the private sector is doing their part to assist the Ministry in this effort. 

Representing individual properties were Chris Pollock, consultant to the Bimini Big Game Club/Guy Harvey Outpost Resort and Karen Pinder, manager of Grand Bahama's Port Lucaya Marina

And, as a side note, one Flahama friend we met, who didn't appear on the show, was Sandra "Sandy" Davis. Sandy is a a travel writer and photographer and earlier this year released an iPhone and iPad app—Bahamas Bliss: Bimini. If a trip to Bimini is in your future, or if you've ever dreamed of visiting Bimini, this is an app you'll want to check out. Sandy is working on her second Bahamas app—this one for Abaco.

Special co-host Earl Miller and Talkin' Tourism host
Gary Guertin are all smiles during the broadcast.
Our Bahamian (and Flahamian) guests really pulled out all the stops on this show. So, listeners, if you are inclined to seek a Bahamas boating get away, download last week's Talkin' Tourism audio file (Show 145 / October 28) and listen in on all The Bahamas is doing to give you a top notch experience. 

Special thanks and a shout-out to Bahia Mar Beach Resort and Yachting Center for accommodating our live remote. We had a great time and look forward to returning to the show again next year!

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