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Eliminating off-island event advertising is not a solution

September 6, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

To the editor:

On Sept. 11, 2018, the Sanibel City Council should veto Ordinance 18-009 for the following reasons:

n Do the simple math

There are 90 days of high season, from January to March. There are seven days of not-for-profit events scheduled for 2019 as follows:

- Feb. 16-17: Arts and Crafts Festival

- March 1-3: Shell fair

- March 15-16: Sanibel-Captiva Lions Arts & Crafts Fair

Does city council really believe the passage of Ordinance 18-009 will make a meaningful difference for a week in the lives of Sanibel residents? What about the 83 days of high traffic congestion that restricts the movement of citizens in our community on a daily basis which city council has not addressed and continues to need a solution?

Has anyone done a survey to document how many of the event-related Sanibel visitors came from off-island in direct response to each new season of advertisements? For example, the Shell Fair is the oldest of its kind in the United States - celebrating 82 years in 2019. What percent of the visitors do you think are devoted returnees rather than first-time ad responders? Do you even know? For years I planned my annual vacation the first two weeks in March to coincide with both the Shell Fair and the Lions Club Arts and Crafts Festival at The Community House. I didn't need an ad to remind me to come. No lack of advertising would keep other committed repeat customers away from crossing the bridge.

With the proposed Ordinance 18-009, city council is clearly discriminating against not-for-profit organizations which are the only ones being targeted for restriction of off-island event advertising.

For many decades, Sanibel has been a desirable tourist destination for many reasons, none of which include the regulation or elimination of historically established and enjoyed activities. If you choose to live here, you accept seven days in mid-season.

Jean Burks




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