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Hurricane Charley area recovery effort under way

Making a statement that the Fort Myers and Sanibel area is quickly moving toward recovery from Hurricane Charley, a full-page, four-color ad will run in the Friday/Weekend issue of USA Today. The ad is the first part of a three-phase campaign from the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) that will run through early January.

Using photography of "then" and "now" of the 120 year old Sanibel lighthouse, the ad reflects the area's hopeful spirit for the future and determination to reach its goal of returning to its world-class destination status. Thelighthouse has been a landmark since its first lighting on Aug. 20, 1884, and as a symbol of the area, is the most frequently photographed location in Lee County.

For updates and hotel information, readers are asked to visit the area's Web site at

The preliminary three-phase recovery campaign is scheduled to run through the beginning of January and will include print and broadcast advertising along with direct mail and internet marketing.

To show support for those Lee County tourism employees who have been affected by the storm, Florida's Space Coast Office of Tourism plans to "adopt" the Lee County tourism industry.

"We know there are a lot of people in Lee County's travel industry who are going to be out of work and wanted to do something that might help them out during the coming holiday season," says Rob Varley, the organization's executive director.

The first major fundraiser for the effort will be its Chocolate and Champagne Festival scheduled for the first weekend in November. Varley has also asked his industry colleagues to do similar programs for other hurricane-affected counties

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