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St. Lucie County tourism leaders launch 'Don't Come Here' campaign

Unusual slogan coined to help lure visitors
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 01:36:18-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — It's summer vacation time, but maybe you don't feel like traveling very far.

Tourism leaders in St. Lucie County said that's OK. They've got plenty of places for you to visit even if, at first, they claim they don't want you to come.

Buzz Smyth and his team took over the 23-room Fort Pierce Beach Resort in January.

Then March came.

"And we were pretty devastated," he said.

Reopening has taken time.

"It's been really hard," hotel manager Angela Tuttle said. "Really hard getting back started again."

But a lot of work is being done around the oceanfront property. Many rooms are brand new.

Now tourism leaders are trying to help spread the word that there are places to go and stay.

"We really need to stand out in all the clutter that's about to happen for all the pent-up travel demand," Charlotte Birely, director of marketing and tourism for St. Lucie County, said.

So, Birerly said, they're launching the "Don't Come Here" campaign.

What?

"It's going to follow up with 'Don't come here, unless you like beautiful sunrises,'" Birely clarified.

One phrase you won't hear from local tourism officials is "staycation." They'd rather have you take "near-cations."

"How many times have we heard, 'Stay home, stay home?' So we want to stay away from the word 'stay,'" Birerly said.

So far, so good, Tuttle said.

"We have more locals making reservations, people from West Palm (Beach and) Fort Lauderdale," she said.

Smyth said it's all about the community.

"We have 31 employees who were depending on their jobs to feed their families and do things," Smyth said.

Smyth said they always planned to reopen and hope more people will learn now that they have.