Visit Pensacola Highlights Resiliency and Innovation of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry at Annual Meeting


Media Contact:

Nicole Stacey
Visit Pensacola
(850) 434-2142

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Pensacola, Fla. – Visit Pensacola's incoming board members and officers were welcomed at Monday's 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 and showcases the industry's achievements.

"Over the past year, the hospitality and tourism industry has shown resiliency and innovation in times of great challenge," President and CEO Darien Schaefer said. "I look forward to building on that momentum as we continue to recover and build tourism as an economic engine for Escambia County."

Despite the ongoing challenges from a pandemic, a hurricane, and decreased visitor travel, Schaefer highlighted Visit Pensacola’s accomplishments:

  • Welcomed 43 new partners totaling 277 Partners
  • Hosted nine press trips, issued 41 press releases, made 334 media pitches, participated in four media missions, and assisted 595 media inquiries.
  • Booked the Sunbelt Conference Basketball Tournament, an annual $5 Million Economic Impact
  • Engaged nearly two million people across social media
  • Launched the 'Experience Pensacola' Destination App
  • Built 'Virtual Pensacola' a virtual hub dedicated to assisting the community and its partners in Covid-19 response and recovery
  • Created Help Out/Take Out campaign to support area restaurants.
  • Reached more than 1.7 million people with social media video ads, and more than 6,000 TV spots in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Jackson, Nashville, New Orleans, and Tallahassee with the "Save You a Spot" campaign
  • Launched the "Cure for Cabin Fever" campaign, encouraging locals to get out and help out, including more than 1,100 TV spots on WEAR, WKRG, and Cox. 770 live and recorded radio spots with Cat Country, News Radio, Cumulus, and iHeart stations, 8 billboards from Lamar and digital ads on PNJ (Facebook/Instagram)
  • Assisted in Hurricane Sally recovery by aiding Showcase Pensacola in launching

Engaged in building on that energy, incoming Board Chairman D.C Reeves remarked on his vision for the upcoming year.

"Between a global pandemic, a hurricane and a broken bridge, we have faced unprecedented challenges as a community and as an organization charged with developing tourism. Visit Pensacola's role in reviving this community through tourism and the compounding positive impact it has for our citizens, our local small businesses and our tax base have never been more important than it is right now," Board Chair D.C. Reeves said. "Our community and our partners are looking to us to bring those dollars back as quickly as possible. I'm excited to play a role in such an impactful revitalization."

Serving with Board Chairman D.C. Reeves for the 2021 fiscal year will be:


Officers and Board of Directors

  • Chairman and At-Large: D.C. Reeves, Perfect Plain Brewing Company, Studer Family of Companies
  • Vice-Chairman/Perdido Key Lodging: McKenzie Vaughn, Southern Vacation Rentals
  • Treasurer/Pensacola Beach Lodging: Gabe DiCianni, Innisfree Hotels
  • Secretary/At-Large: Dr. Lusharon Wiley, Innisfree Hotels
  • At-Large: Jessica Andrade, Baptist Healthcare
  • NAS/NW Lodging: Jatin Bhakta, North Florida Hotels
  • Attractions/Venues: Deandra Holcomb, Ho2 Pensacola Dolphin Tours, Pontoons, and More
  • Sports/Recreation: David Kemp, Gulf Coast Texans
  • Arts/Culture/History: Suzanne Lewis, UWF Historic Trust
  • Pensacola Downtown/Airport Lodging: Joe McCay, Pensacola Grand Hotel
  • Dining/Entertainment: Cam Price, Flora-Bama Lounge

Click here for a photo album of the event.

For more information on tourism in the Pensacola Bay Area or to get involved, visit


About Visit Pensacola

Visit Pensacola is the destination 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.