Visit Pensacola Highlights Successes at
Annual Meeting


Media Contact:

Nicole Stacey
Visit Pensacola
(850) 434-2142

Annual Meeting

Pensacola, Fla. (Thursday, Oct. 24) – Visit Pensacola’s incoming board members and officers were welcomed at Wednesday’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. In celebration, President Steve Hayes disclosed that tourism continues to set records in the Pensacola Bay Area.

"Thank you to our stakeholders, our community and our partners for their continued support,” President of Visit Pensacola Steve Hayes said. “It is this support and collaboration that allows us to see continued success in the industry that supports the Pensacola Bay Area so much.”

Adding to the 2019 fiscal year, Hayes highlighted a detailed list of Visit Pensacola’s leading accomplishments:

  • Increased room night leads by 10%
  • Assisted in booking 14,985 room nights
  • Welcomed 75 new partners
  • Awarded over $300,000 in grant funds to 27 local events
  • Main core of digital vendors (Stack Adapt, Sojern, Adara, Goodway, Facebook) drove 71% more site sessions, lowered the bounce rate 9% and grew on-site email sign-ups and guide orders by 276%
  • Hosted 36 press trips, issued 33 press releases, made 172 media pitches, participated in 7 media missions and assisted 408 media
  • Welcomed over 40,000 travelers to the visitor centers
  • Increased social media engagement by 53%

To build on that momentum, incoming Board Chair Sterling Gilliam, Sterling Gilliam USN (Ret.), National Naval Aviation Museum, shared his vision on continued collaboration for the upcoming year.

“2020 is shaping up to be another fantastic year for tourism in Pensacola and I look forward to working with our Visit Pensacola partners and other stakeholders as we strive to improve the visitor experience in our area,” Gilliam said.

Serving with Board Chairman Sterling Gilliam for the 2020 fiscal year will be:

Officers and Board of Directors

Vice-Chairman and At-Large: D.C. Reeves, Perfect Plain
Treasurer and Perdido Key Lodging: McKenzie Nicholas, Southern Vacation Rentals
Secretary and At-Large: Dr. Lusharon Wiley, Innisfree Hotels
Dining/Entertainment: Cam Price, Flora-Bama Lounge
Pensacola Downtown/Airport Lodging: Joe McCay, Margaritaville Beach Hotel
Sports/Recreation: Cindi Bonner, Rally Pensacola
Pensacola Beach Lodging: Gabe DiCianni, Innisfree Hotels
NAS / NW Lodging: Jatin Bhakta, North Florida Hotels
At-Large: Jessica Andrade, Beggs & Lane
Arts/Culture/History: Suzanne Lewis, UWF Historic Trust

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.