Visit Pensacola Welcomes New Fiscal Year, Highlights Tourism Successes


Media Contact:

Nicole Stacey
Visit Pensacola
(850) 434-2142

Steve annual meeting


Pensacola, Fla.(October 25, 2017) – Visit Pensacola’s incoming board members and officers were welcomed at Thursday’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.

“Through the combined efforts of Visit Pensacola’s staff, tourism partners, and industry leaders, that increase is a direct reflection on the tourism industry’s collaborative efforts,” Hayes expressed.

Pensacola Bay Area success by the numbers:  

Number of Visitors


30% higher than last year

Visitor Spending


16% higher than last year

County Taxes Paid by Visitors


10% higher than last year

Tourist Development Tax


8% higher than last year

Number of Jobs


17% of jobs in Escambia County

Average Spend Per Day


28% higher than last year


Adding to the 2017 fiscal year, Hayes highlighted a detailed list of Visit Pensacola’s leading accomplishments:

  • Hosted 82,000 travelers in Pensacola Bay Area Visitor Information Centers
  • Developed a Certified Ambassador Program with the University of West Florida’s Hospitality Management Program to increase tourism education and awareness
  • 105 assists with media resulting in 985 story placements
  • Established an improved partner packaging system centered on retention and community inclusion
  • 239 bookings for 27,430 delegates and 35,339 room nights, a value of $35.3 million
  • Developed and released a new website and industry portal to increase relationships with travelers, stakeholders, partners and media


To build on that momentum, incoming Board Chair Jason Nicholson, Vice President of Operations for Innisfree Hotels, relayed his goals for the upcoming year.

“My goal is to communicate to Escambia County what the role of tourism is and how it directly relates to our economy,” Nicholson said.  “In telling our story, my hope is to develop meaningful relationships that in turn educate and promote all that the area has to offer.”

Nicholson along with his fellow board of directors, President Steve Hayes and the Visit Pensacola staff will use the coming year to tell their story to the Pensacola Bay Area and how it directly relates to the quality of life in Escambia County.

Key areas of focus in 2018 will be to continue to use data to drive business decisions and direction while focusing on service to increase business. As storytellers for the industry, the importance will be to continue developing relevant content with a focus on service to partners, the Pensacola Bay Area community and travelers to the destination.

Serving with Board Chair, Jason Nicholson for the 2018 fiscal year will be:

Vice Chair – Rob Overton, Jr., UWF Historic Trust

Treasurer – Capt. Sterling Gilliam, USN (Ret.), National Naval Aviation Museum

Secretary – Mitesh Patel, Pinnacle Management and Investments

Director – Cindi Bonner, Fitness Onboard LLC

Director – Ryan Christopher, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Director – Ronald Cole, Prince Hall Scottish Rite Masons

Director – J.D. Hallam, Perdido Key Resort Management

Director – Verdell Hawkins, Gulf Power

Director – Jim Homyak, New World Inn

Director – J.C. Lowe, WEAR ABC 3/WFGX My 35

“Stakeholder engagement is important to the tourism industry and Visit Pensacola,” says Nicholson. “We are encouraging people interested in participating to get involved with the organization.” For more information, 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.