Leisure travel is flourishing in Charlotte County, but business tourism leaves a void

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Leisure tourism is back in Charlotte County but still missing are business travelers. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Visitors come from all over to soak up the view from the Wyern Hotel’s rooftop deck.

“Our weekends are busier than they’ve ever been,” said Matt Nemec, director of business development at the Wyvern Hotel.

Nemec said the hotel has made budget for the last eight months. Englewood and Punta Gorda saw a record number of tourists in July. And while leisure travelers are back, the hotel is still working on getting business travelers to return.

“What we used to see Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of the business travelers coming in, we don’t see that quite as much,” Nemec said.

Charlotte County Tourism Director Sean Doherty points to the changing business model since the start of the pandemic.

“Business travel is a little bit slower to recover than the leisure travel,” Doherty said. “For business tourism, you know, you don’t necessarily have to go somewhere to accomplish those goals. You can do some of that stuff virtually.”

The Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center caters to more local business trips than corporate travel.

General Manager Jim Finch is hopeful after seeing more postponements this year instead of cancelations.

“A lot of places are short-staffed, so they can’t afford to send folks and then if they do send folks, and they get COVID, now they’re out for at least a couple of weeks,” Finch said.

Until business tourism returns, Nemec will have to change his business model.

“I think our business traveler is going to come back, it’s going to come back strong,” Nemec said.


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