Category Archives: Tourism


It’s Official! Lakeland Wins FHSAA Basketball Contract!

Mike LaPan of The Lakeland Center announced today that Lakeland has once again been awarded the 3-year contract for Florida State High School Athletic Association Boy’s & Girl’s State Basketball Championships!

The Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, led by Jacqueline Johnson, is instrumental in the negotiations to bring thousands of high school athletes and their families to the area. With support from Central Florida Sports Marketing, the Central Florida Visitors & Convention Bureau and the City of Lakeland, Lakeland businesses and residents can look forward to another three years of outstanding patronage from Florida High School athletes and families!


The Economics Of Baseball’s Spring Training

Governing magazine posted an article/blog this week focused on Florida’s and Arizona’s commitment to Spring Training and the impact of sports tourism. While there’s no mention of our 75 years of history with the Detroit Tigers, Polk County’s Mark Jackson provided some insight for government leaders.

“It’s not so much a giveaway as an investment,” says Mark Jackson, director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, a quasi-government department charged with recruiting and retaining spring training teams in central Florida. “That’s not re-circulating money. That’s new money coming it. It’s essentially making spring training an export.”

Read the article here.


Florida Sports Hall of Fame Grand Opening June 22 – Webcast Live Here

The Florida Sports Hall of Fame is coming to Polk County and it will open in grand fashion on June 22 as the building at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale that will house memorabilia from some of the biggest stars Florida sports has ever known officially opens. The Grand Opening and ribbon cutting of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame will take place on Tuesday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale and will be followed by the induction of the 2010 Florida Sports Hall of Fame Class that evening at The Lakeland Center. The hall of fame will be open until 2:00 p.m. that day, closing in preparation for the induction at 6:15 p.m. that evening. Hall of Fame members scheduled to appear at the event include: Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Doug Sanders, Charlie Owens, Don Garlits, Fran Curci, Jimmy Carnes, Roger Strickland, Hubert Green, Pat Borders, Catie Condon and Ruth Alexander. “We are so excited to be able to share this grand opening with the Hall of Fame members, the people who make this new building what it is,” said Florida Sports Hall of Fame Chairman, Rick Dantzler. “This promises to be a star-studded, memorable event for everyone who attends,” Dantzler added.

Following the grand opening, four new members will be inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. The 2010 Florida Sports Hall of Fame class consists of Lake Wales native and baseball standout Pat Borders, Olympic gold medalist Catie Ball-Condon, long time sports columnist Jack Hairston, who will be inducted posthumously, and professional golfer Hubert Green. The induction ceremony, which will also feature the Polk County All Sports Awards, will be aired live on Bright House Sports Network.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing at 863-551-4750.

An initiative of the Central Florida Development Council and the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, PCTSM is responsible for recruiting sporting events to Polk County and marketing the county as a venue for competitive sporting events and recreational sports such as golf, tennis, bicycling and water skiing/boating.

During the past year, more than 225 PCTSM-assisted events generated in excess of $125 million in economic benefits for Polk County. PCTSM is Florida’s only sports commission to have earned both the Florida Sports Foundation’s coveted “Sports Commission of the Year” and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports “Organization of the Year.” General information on sports in Polk County can be found by visiting the PCSM website at


Celebrate National Tourism Week With Us

Lakeland and Polk County will be celebrating National Tourism Week on Tuesday, May 25 at 8:30a.m. at Lake Eva Banquet Hall at 799 Johns Avenue in Haines City.  The Keynote Speaker will be Will Seccombe –Chief Marketing Officer at Visit Florida –presenting Visit Florida’s marketing platform and introducing the impact LEGOLAND  will have on Florida and Polk County’s tourism industry.

Facts on Florida Tourism:

  • Every 85 visitors to the Sunshine State support 1 Florida Job;

During 2009:

  • 20.3 million visitors
  • $15.8 billion in spending
  • $948 million in sales tax collections
  • 238,000 Florida Jobs

An investment in tourism marketing strengthens Florida’s economy.  Every public dollar invested in tourism generates more than $3 of additional sales tax revenue paid by visitors, not residents…  One of the main reasons Florida does not have a state income tax!

Tourism provides 1 million jobs to Floridians and adds $3.9 billion to state coffers annually.  Tourism-related tax revenues provide the necessary funding for road construction, education, schools, libraries, health care and other vital programs.

If you would like to attend this breakfast celebrating Tourism contact  Cost is $10.00 person and you must have reservations!


New Online Clubs & Organizations Directory

Lakeland’s sense of place is something that the Chamber and the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau highlights on a regular basis. With 90,000 fabulous residents and another 110,000 in the surrounding areas*, there are plenty of diverse interests and needs!

For several years, the Chamber has produced a printed directory of Clubs & Organizations to help each resident and visitor find his or her niche in our community. This year, we are proud to release an online searchable database of clubs and organizations. There are still some bugs, and it is a work in progress, but we are proud to offer this added benefit to the community and our members! Please be sure to check the directory to find your outlet to serve, or to be sure that your favorite club or organization is listed.

Thanks for visiting, we hope it will help you find your “sense of place”.

[*Editor’s note: Jim Studiale, City of Lakeland Director of Community Development, sent us this message regarding Lakeland’s population: “Jason Willey in my office puts out the demographic atlas each year in cooperation with others to give all organizations one benchmark [consistent with FL BEBR and the US Census] and the numbers in the recent issue are; 94,163 for city pop in 2009 and 253,084 in Lakeland Electric Service Area.” That report is available here.]