The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) was named the 2013 Tourism Office of the Year at the Southeast Tourism Society’s Fall Forum today in Jacksonville, Florida. The prestigious award represents the GFLCVB’s many accomplishments in effective tourism marketing in 2013, a year of record-breaking visits of 13 million.

“We proudly accept the Shining Example Award from the Southeast Tourism Society, as it clearly affirms the success of our creative marketing of Greater Fort Lauderdale as a vibrant and diverse destination,” says Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We share this distinguished award with our talented team and industry partners, as this recognition celebrates our mission to share the beauty and warmth of Greater Fort Lauderdale.”

An industry fixture since 1985, the Shining Example Awards recognize outstanding contributions in tourism in the Southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. “Shining Example Awards showcase some of the best work in travel and tourism, and winners truly set examples that others in the industry can follow,” said STS President and CEO Bill Hardman.  “Showcasing great work is important because tourism is the largest, second-largest or third-largest industry in every Southeastern state.”

Why Greater Fort Lauderdale?

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) is the tourism marketing arm of Broward County, Florida that is supported solely by hotel tourist tax. Tourism, Broward’s number one industry, led the County economy’s recovery in 2012 with record-breaking visitor growth creating more than 141,000 jobs (one job for every 85 visitors).

Last year, at the October tourism industry luncheon with 500 hospitality partners and elected gflc_2officials, “Hello Sunny” was officially launched. This new $5 million “Hello Sunny” advertising/branding campaign, is a bright, fun personification of the destination’s lighthearted, carefree, active, diverse, entertaining, water-centric and sunny nature. The strong return on investment for GFLCVB marketing communication included “Goodbye Chilly, Hello Sunny” events in NYC, Chicago and London and successful efforts for sports, multicultural sales, LGBT, film, travel agents, international sales, group sales and services.

Launch of Hello Sunny Brand

gflc_1More than a campaign, the new “Hello Sunny” branding signifies a renewed positive tourism outlook and creative energy that is part of the community fabric. The hospitality industry debut celebrated the success of FY 2012 room-night generation, number of visitors, visitor spending and international growth, with an overall economic impact of $9.8 billion. The GFLCVB strategic initiatives showcasing the diversity of the destination have resulted in 46 months of consecutive visitor growth.

A sampling of the GFLCVB’s 2013 accomplishments includes:

* Redesigned Addy-award winning website and mobile site

* New “Fork” Lauderdale dining app created

* Cruise and Play video produced to impact pre/post cruise passenger business

* Launched “We Love Agents” incentive program

* Gold LEED certified Convention Center

* Secured National Urban League Conference, American Tennis Association for multicultural business

* Economic impact of film at $64,169,000 and 13,659 jobs

* Sunsational Service training for more than 20,000 local employees

* Hosted 150 sports events in FY 2013 representing more than 300,000 room nights and 175,000 attendees

* Produced “Meet Sunny” video for meeting planners and incorporated  “Meet Sunny” campaign into group sales materials

* Increased visitation from Latin America, particularly Brazil with dedicated travel trade sales efforts

* Implemented medical tourism web pages

* Increased hospitality industry partners participation in coop advertising with partner web access

* Cruzie award for best embark/debark port city for LGBT passengers

* Green meetings approved site by Convention South

* Ambassador of Bliss campaign for destination weddings

The future looks bright as the GFLCVB prepares for another year of growth.

The Southeast Tourism Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promoting economic development through travel and sustainable tourism throughout the Southeast. The nearly 1,000 members in the Southeast Tourism Society represent a spectrum of travel industry businesses working to promote tourism to the region. For more info on the Southeast Tourism Society or its Shining Example Awards, visit

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