Dear Sanibel and Captiva Community,
It’s no secret that the economic health of Sanibel and Captiva islands relies on the hotels and other vacation accommodations, the majority of which were devastated by Hurricane Ian. Helping this vital industry recover requires a mighty effort by those who care about these unique islands.
The SanCap Chamber of Commerce and Charitable Foundation of the Islands (CFI) have worked more closely than ever over the past year to restore and revitalize the accommodation industry while also supporting businesses currently open and assisting those in the process of reopening.
Among those efforts is a collaboration with the City of Sanibel, the Lee County Office of Economic Development, and the Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau to commission a business climate survey to study key indicators for the islands’ recovery. The three-year survey will be undertaken with Florida Gulf Coast University’s Regional Economic Research Institute, under the leadership of Dr. Amir B. Ferreira Neto. The goal is to better understand the timeline challenges and opportunities faced by the accommodation industry as it returns to full operation.
Returning the industry to pre-Ian days requires grappling with complex issues, such as permitting, rising building costs, labor shortages, and supply chain problems. The proposed study can address these issues with an economist’s perspective, helping to streamline and expedite the rebuilding process and thereby allowing the industry to return to full capacity more quickly.
This will ultimately benefit all local businesses, whose fates rest, in large part, on the accommodation industry’s speedy recovery.
Donations collected from CFI’s Sanibel-Captiva Recovery Fund will fund the first year of the three-year study, with an annual cost of approximately $10,000. Meanwhile, the chamber aims to help support the 104 businesses currently open until the hotel and accommodation industry on Sanibel and Captiva fully recovers. The chamber is also pursuing operating support totaling close to $1 million from government grants and private philanthropic sources (see attached Snapshot of the Chamber).
We thank you for your ongoing concern and support. We are all in this together.
John Lai Dolly Farrell
President and CEO Executive Director
SanCap Chamber of Commerce Charitable Foundation of the Islands