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Brutal temperatures up north creates bigger impact on SWFL economy

Posted at 7:37 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 19:37:40-05

It makes you cold just thinking about it, but over 224 million people are experiencing below zero weather across the states.

That’s causing some people to come down to the sunshine state to escape the brutal weather, and according to the Lee County Visitors & Conventions Bureau, that's having a positive impact on the SWFL economy.

"Tourism is such a huge part of Lee County, and when tourism takes a hit everyone suffers so that’s why even though it really really cold in Minneapolis right now we appreciate that they come to fly here and warm up,” said Director of Communications, Francesca Donlan.

Of course, it’s season, but golf courses are seeing fuller parking lots.

"We’re down here in Fort Myers and we feel like we’re cheating the system,” said Golfer, Gary Goshert, who is visiting Fort Myers from Indiana.

Hotels are also seeing the impact, even with a few canceled reservations, they’re still cashing in.

"It’s definitely helped out a lot, but we’re also in-season so thankfully it’s starting to go into full swing like normal, or we have people extending their stays because their flights got canceled, said James Coat, Manager of the Sunset Beach Hotel.

Donlan says 5 million people visit Lee County and spend almost $3 billion every year. That number could get a little boost with more visitors.

"Florida Rep had to extend three of its shows because it had such a large attendance and I think you can see the traffic, and the restaurants are packed and it’s exciting for all of us economy because we had such a hard summer,” Donlan said.