Partnership: Visit Sarasota County and Bradenton Area CVB Celebrate New United Airlines Flight

Visit Sarasota County (VSC) and the Bradenton Area CVB (BACVB) celebrated the inaugural United Airlines nonstop Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) flight on Sunday, October 27. The flight opened many opportunities because of the corporations and associations surrounding Washington Dulles, many of which will now consider Sarasota County and the Bradenton area for meetings.

After welcoming United Airlines Flight 3402 at SRQ, Virginia Haley, president, VSC; Elliott Falcione, executive director, BACVB; and Christian Dorn, marketing program manager, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, led a group of meeting professionals, who arrived on the flight, to Muse at The Ringling for a celebration luncheon and tour. The meeting professionals remained in the area for several days for a familiarization tour of both destinations.

This is a prime example of how VSC and BACVB work with industry partners, whether meeting professionals, airlines, airports, media or each other, to promote the destinations and attract visitors.

“Our destination has recently seen a tremendous expansion of nonstop flights into and out of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, which is quickly growing into one of the best airports in the region, further setting the Bradenton/Sarasota area apart from other beach destinations in the state,” says Falcione. “We are thrilled to see the new United Flight from Dulles, as the D.C. area is historically an important market for destination visitation from leisure travelers, groups and meetings. We know that those who take advantage of the flight (and especially the planners on the inaugural flight) will enjoy the convenience of flying into SRQ and landing minutes from the world-class beaches, dining, arts and more offered in the destination. We look forward to working with VSC, United Airlines, SRQ and IAD on this initiative and hope that it is just the first of many.”

Ellen Thomas, senior meetings sales manager with Visit Sarasota County, adds, “Air access to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport has significantly increased in the last year, with the addition of nearly 40 nonstop flights. This has opened a new era to meeting professionals sourcing Sarasota, to whom convenient group airlift access is a key factor in destination selection. Additionally, the convenient location of SRQ, only five miles from our largest meeting hotels, makes getting to your meeting or incentive location here a breeze.”