The Sarasota region’s tourism chiefs have got some big smiles on their faces this week following the news that their very own Siesta Key Beach has been named “America’s Best Beach”.
Normally, even the Airline Business blog does not venture into such territory. But seeing as this news comes from our friends in Sarasota, namely the city’s international airport (SRQ) and its Convention & Visitors Bureau, and with both being former hosts of our popular airline-airport speed dating event Network USA. then we’ll make an exception. Oh, and they invited us to a party in London to celebrate.
Having America’s best beach is a peachy one, demonstrating the attraction of Sarasota as a destination. It is the first time in the 21 years that the award has been going that Siesta Key has won, says Erin Duggan, communications director at the Sarasota CVB.
Siesta Key is an eight mile long crescent-shaped barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico’s Gulf Islands. The judging is done by Dr Stephen Letterman – aka Dr Beach – who undertakes a rigorous analysis of beaches across the USA to come to his decision, measuring factors like sand and water qualit and beach safety.
Waxing lyrical about Siesta Key, Dr Beach says: “The sand is super soft. So soft in fact that it sqweaks when you walk on it.”
Sarasota is a popular destination for travellers from the US, Canada and Europe alike. British Airways, for example, via its Holidays arm has seen its business in the region rise by 20% this summer so far, says Gemma Pascall, BA Holidays destination executive.
BA Holidays works with 15 hotels and properties in the area and is always on the look out for more, she says.
Below, Airline Business publisher Mark Pilling (left) and SRQ marketing chief Michael Walley pose with the Sarasota beach rubber ring photo cutout. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it right?