Tourist season ending in SWFL, business leaders look to future

Posted at 6:59 PM, Apr 10, 2017

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. -- Businesses on Fort Myers beach survived the tourism season this year; but not without some challenges.

Adam Clark, owner of The Doghouse enjoyed a business boom. "It was very smooth and very busy," he said. "We stayed very, very busy since the beginning of the year."

However, others worried about things like construction and water quality in SWFL driving away tourists. Andrea Carriere tells Fox 4 she noticed a slight booking decrease at her hotel. "It should've been a little bit of an increase but it wasn't because of all of the issues.

Water quality in Southwest Florida has been a highly talked about issue in the town over the last few years, resulting from water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Carriere worries if something is not done about the issue, tourists will stop coming to the island. "You're talking about the fishing industry, the shrimping industry, the tourism industry," she said. "It's affecting more than just me."

At the Sea Gypsy Inn, General Manager Scott Safford has one of their most successful quarters. He tells Fox 4 he owes it to his loyal repeat customers. However, he also worries about water quality causing his business to take a hit. "We're fortunate enough to have a lot of repeat business. We were worried about that last year," he said. "Long term, it [the water quality] is going to kill us. Water is our life. They need to stop wasting time. Something needs to be done soon," he said.

His wife, Jacki Liszak is an active member of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. She will join the SWFL Chamber Of Commerce tomorrow on a trip to Tallahassee, where they will discuss the water quality issue with lawmakers.

Fox 4 will provide the latest updates on the meetings -- on air and online at