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PUNTA GORDA | Florida International Air Show bringing in great economic impact

US Air Force Thunderbirds are headlining the show
Posted at 4:01 PM, Nov 01, 2023

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — This weekend in Punta Gorda will be full of high-flying maneuvers at the Florida International Air Show. While it will bring in thousands of people, it will also bring in millions of dollars to Charlotte County.

Denise Dull, the Florida International Air Show president, says it brings in people from all over.

"We have ticket sales from as far west as Nevada and California — other countries," she said.

Those sales show around 15,000 to 20,000 people coming on Saturday, with possibly the same amount on Sunday.

More people means more money for the area.

"Post-Ian, we need that kind of income in the community," Dull explained.

The money will come through various avenues, such as the bed tax from hotels.

"It’s a pretty significant air show considering the size of the town and county that we’re in," said Kelly Williamson, director of marketing for the Four Points Hotel.

The hotel is full this weekend with about 85% of air show crews and the rest are people coming to see the show.

Williamson also sits on the county's tourism board and says the visitor spending will go towards reserves and getting the name "Punta Gorda" out there.

"It’s much-needed," she said. "We can market to a broader, even international base."

In 2021, Dull says the air show brought in about $5 million, and that's without a big headline such as the Thunderbirds.

She says this year, they're expecting double digits.

"It really does bring a strong impact to the area, not just for the hotels, but for everyone," Williamson said.

The impact comes back down to the restaurants, too.

"I’ve spoken to more people this year who says what time’s the show over because I need to go make dinner reservations," Dull said.

Even after the air show, both Dull and Williamson hope people will come back to the area and support the community.

The air show is on Nov. 4-5 and tickets are $45 per person, which includes parking.

Shuttles will take you from the parking lots to the airport grounds. You will find plenty of planes, food and other vendors.

Dull said please be aware of the grassy terrain, and it may be hard for people with wheelchairs and walkers to navigate it. They will have golf carts around to help, but some places cannot be accessed with them.

The gates open at 9 a.m. and the ceremony to kick off the show is at noon.

You can find more information and purchase tickets here.