Sunshine Imports Up
with Martha Chapman

The lovely setting for the luncheon at the Boulevard Club

Lindsay Bennet of Panama City Beach and Julie Watson of Visit Jacksonville

The club boasts a spectacular view of Lake Ontario

Lindsey Guthrie of Tampa Bay & Company

Don’t know how those Floridians do it, but every time there’s a team of tourism types visiting town, the sun shines. Now that’s better than any ad campaign!

And it was no exception recently as 11 smiling ambassadors hosted a luncheon at the swank Boulevard Club on the lakefront in Toronto.

An at-par loonie and rising visitor stats are just part of the reason for the smiles. Here are a few others:

Julie Watson of Visit Jacksonville (“Where Florida Begins”) told us of the très cool new offering at One Ocean Resort where docents (a sort of combo concierge and guide) greet you at your car, ensure your pre-selected treats are in the bar and your favourite music is playing when you arrive at your room. Yes please! Find out about deals especially for Canadians in the area at

$33 a night. Hmmm…..even I could afford that. And that’s how little a long stay hotel can be in the Panama City Beach area, according to Lindsay Bennett. Plus the new Panama City Airport – in the Panhandle – is just a 35-minute flight from MCO.

According to Lauren Hoyt-Williams of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the new Sesame Street Safari of Fun is proving a huge success. With its scaled-down roller coaster (perfect for wee ones who don’t meet the height requirements of the big guys’ coasters) and lots of interaction with the fuzzy creatures we all know and love, it’s a sure winner.

There are also some great deals for us Canucks at, according to Julie Lepsetz of Orlando/Orange County. “And Canadians have just replaced the U.K. as the number one foreign visitors to the Orlando area!”

Ah. Looks like the colour orange we have associated for so long with the state of Florida will have to be replaced with red…meaning the red carpet for us, of course!

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