The tourism board says it is working with state, federal and local officials in the wake of the storm.
While Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers has reopened for limited operations, visitors are asked to put travel plans to the region on hold for the time being. The tourism board says that given the extent of the devastation, there is no timeline yet for a resumption of tourism.
The unprecedented storm surge has caused serious damage to properties and infrastructure across the county, with extensive damage to the Sanibel Causeway and Pine Island bridge, preventing access to the islands off from the mainland.
“The unthinkable happened. Our homes, our communities, our livelihoods have taken a devastating blow,” said, Cecil Pendergrass, Lee County Commissioner, District 2 and Chairman of the Lee County Tourist Development Council. “What Hurricane Ian was not able to wash away, though, is our resilience. We will come through this just as we have all other crises before it. Our beautiful islands, beaches and neighbourhoods will be rebuilt. Our bridges will connect us all again. We have steered through countless crises before and will do so again. Because that’s what we do. We roll up our sleeves and stand shoulder to shoulder to support each other and move forward, one step at a time.”
For those who wish to donate to those in need, click here to contribute to the SWFL Emergency Relief Fund which is established in partnership with the United Way.
Fort Myers and surrounding areas include Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel & Captiva islands, Boca Grande & Outer Islands, Pine Island, Matlacha, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Alva, Buckingham, and Lehigh Acres.