Visit Pensacola Celebrates Fifth Annual Meeting, Numbers on the Rise


Media Contact:

Nicole Stacey
Visit Pensacola
(850) 434-2142

annual meeting board chairs

Pensacola, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2018) – Visit Pensacola’s incoming board members, and officers were welcomed at last weeks annual meeting by staff, industry leaders, tourism partners, and community members. The annual meeting marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for the organization. In celebration, President Steve Hayes disclosed that tourism continues to set records in the Pensacola Bay Area.

“What a fantastic year we have had in Pensacola. Thank you to our stakeholders, our community and our partners for their continued support,” President of Visit Pensacola Steve Hayes said.

Pensacola Bay Area success by the numbers: 

Number of Visitors


+33% over 5 years, 61% overnight

Visitor Spending


+21 total over 5 years, 37% overnight

Average Spend Per Day


+43% over 5 years

Overall Spend


+35% over 5 years

Party Size


+28% over 5 years


Adding to the 2018 fiscal year, Hayes highlighted a detailed list of Visit Pensacola’s leading accomplishments:

  • Tall Ships Pensacola welcomed over 25,000 visitors to the area
  • Launched the Tourism Works campaign a campaign dedicated to educating the Pensacola community on the impact of tourism in our economy
  • Increased lead room night by 41% over FY 2017
  • Launched, The Pensacola Experience, a new brand, and creative concept to showcase all that Pensacola has to offer as a destination. These experiences allow for stories beyond the beach and include history, arts, culinary and culture.
  • Assisted in booking 10,000 room nights.
  • The Visitors Information Centers hosted 71 events for our guests and the local community to enjoy.
  • Welcomed 35 new business partners who support the tourism economy bringing the total to 225 partners.

To build on that momentum, incoming Board Chair Rob Overton, Executive Director of the UWF Historic Trust, relayed his goals for the upcoming year.

“Pensacola is a city deeply rooted in history with numerous stories and experiences beyond the beach,” Overton said.  “Our key areas of focus for the 2019 fiscal year will be to continue to use data to drive business decisions and as storytellers, use our voice to connect with the community, stakeholders, and travelers to the destination.”

Visit Pensacola welcomed four new board members who will serve a three-year term including:

Dr. Lusharon Wiley, Innisfree Hotels

Cam Price, Flora-Bama Lounge

McKenzie Vaughn, Southern Vacation Rentals

Joe McCay, Pensacola Grand Hotel


This year's Officers and Board of Directors continuing their terms for FY 2019 are as follows:

Chairman: Rob Overton, Jr., UWF Historic Trust

Vice Chairman: Sterling Gilliam USN (Ret.), National Naval Aviation Museum

Treasurer: D.C. Reeves, Studer Family of Companies

Secretary: Mitesh Patel, Pinnacle Management and Investments

Ryan Christopher, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation

Cindi Bonner, Rally Pensacola

 “As we look to the coming year one of the efforts is to continue being collaborative in our nature. In the last five years, we have recognized that when we speak with one voice, and we talk about the area together and work together as a team, we are successful,” Hayes remarked.

Overton along with his fellow board of directors, President Steve Hayes and the Visit Pensacola staff, will use the coming year to continue to communicate the importance of tourism in the community. For more information on tourism in the Pensacola Bay Area or to get involved, visit


About Visit Pensacola

Visit Pensacola is the destination management organization for Escambia County which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine shores every year. Visit Pensacola supports the community vision of tourism by serving as the central body responsible for building tourism as an economic engine for our community through leadership, connection, collaboration and communication.