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Moore About Business: Collier County Visitors & Convention Bureau leadership transition

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Collier County
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Collier County Visitors & Convention Bureau Executive Director Jack Wert retired in 2021 after almost 20 years. Paul Beirnes stepped into that role after working with the Collier County VCB team for almost one year prior to Wert’s retirement and as part of a transition plan.

Beirnes has an impressive resume, including a 24-year career with Visit Orlando that followed an 8-year kickoff to his career with The Walt Disney Company. But it’s what he says about what he now wants to accomplish with the Collier County VCB that got my attention.

To determine what he wants to do in each role he has served he said, “first, I trust the research.” Then he added, “we then re-engineer as needed, while being both nimble and strategic.”

He continued, “Collier County was well-positioned for travel when the pandemic relented. 2021 was a record-breaking year on every level with a $2.5 billion economic impact. 2021 just blew 2019 right out of the water.” He continued, “but now as tourism comes back in places like Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico, the tourism marketplace will once again become much more competitive and we will see our local metrics begin to ‘settle down’ to more sustainable numbers.”

When asked how Collier County can capitalize on the momentum that built up in 2021, Beirnes replied, “know our niche moving forward. We offer an ‘elevated travel experience’ and very few places in Florida offer that, places like Palm Beach. We also need to get that message out to Florida residents.”

Karen Moore is the publisher of Southwest Florida Business Today and on assignment with WGCU Public Media.