Thursday, July 23, 2015

Apalachicola named finalist in Visit Florida Flagler Awards

The City of Apalachicola has been named as a finalist in the 2015 Visit Florida Flagler Awards, Florida’s prestigious statewide hospitality awards program. The awards named for Henry Flagler were established in 2000 to recognize outstanding tourism marketing in Florida. Each year, the Flagler Awards honors both individuals and organizations that help position Florida as the number one travel destination in the world.

The city is named as a finalist in the category of "Rural County Marketing" for creating the Apalachicola Historic Interpretive Displays and Walking Tour Map.

The displays and maps were the initiative of City Administrator Betty Webb, but was inspired by a vision of Johnny Meyers, who served as city planner during the 1980’s. Meyers envisioned a boardwalk that would connect the city’s working waterfront with interpretive signs erected along the way.  Webb resurrected the idea of at least the installation of the displays about six years ago, and after receiving the go ahead from city commissioners, applied for and received funding through a grant from Visit Florida and the Franklin County Tourist Development Council to design the graphics and construct the displays.

One of nine interpretive displays located along Apalachicola's waterfront

There are a total of nine interpretive displays located on city owned properties along or near the waterfront with each display recounting a different historical, economic and cultural influence that played a major role in shaping Apalachicola.  Each display also features QR Codes that can be scanned with a smartphone to link to the city’s website where additional information about each display can be found.

Webb again received inspiration regarding the displays after attending the 47th Annual Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism in 2014 along with Cindy Clark.  Clark is the owner of Bay Media Services and was instrumental in designing the graphics, constructing the displays and incorporating the QR Codes.

"While Cindy and I were in attendance at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism last year, we observed the awards presentation for small rural communities, we both realized that the many things we do in Apalachicola ranked along with or well exceeded some of the projects awarded at the conference", said Webb.

Webb’s perception was on point and proving right after receiving notification that the city’s submission for the Flagler Awards was among the 2015 finalist. Because of her efforts at accentuating the positive about Apalachicola, the city now stands to add another notch in its distinctive destination belt to compliment its 2008 designation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations to visit in America.

The 48th Annual Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held August 31, 2015, at the Tampa Convention Center.