Coastal Vision 3000 Bought by FRLA

by May 13, 2010 • 5 comments
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The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) announced today the acquisition of Coastal Vision 3000, a private, non-profit tourism and economic development group in Northwest Florida.  Coastal Vision’s executive director Mel Ponder will lead the transition to FRLA over the coming months.

“The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is proud to work with and compliment the efforts of Coastal Vision 3000,” said FRLA President and CEO Carol Dover.  “This merger will allow for greater marketing and branding efforts, and growing the economic development of Northwest Florida through the hospitality and tourism industries, one of the state’s main economic engines,” she continued.

Florida is currently facing a crisis of epic proportions due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  While not a single drop of oil has reached Florida’s shores, FRLA is already working with members of Coastal Vision to send the message that Florida is open for business.

“The partnership of FRLA and Coastal Vision could not have come at a more fortuitous time,” said Mel Ponder, Coastal Vision’s Executive Director.  “Now more than ever, it is critical our region come together for the economic viability and sustainability of Northwest Florida,” he continued.

“We formed Coastal Vision 3000 in order to create a national and international branded identity for Northwest Florida’s beaches,” Buddy Runnels, Chair of Coastal Vision 3000 and broker/owner of Real Estate International.  “Now is the time for us to take this to the next level by combining our efforts with one of Florida’s largest trade associations.  This will serve as a model across the state in the way local business, chambers, tourist and economic development councils and our hospitality industry partner together for the financial growth of our region.”

“The greatest advantage we have as a region is that we are now a cohesive group that understands in order to survive and thrive, we must not care about county lines and fragmented markets,” said Dawn Moliterno, President and CEO of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce in Santa Rosa Beach.  “We are committed to making it easier for our tourists and businesses to move around the region and enjoy all its vast assets.”

Costal Vision 3000, which branded itself as “THE Beach” and comprised of seven coastal counties from Escambia to Franklin, was actively involved in efforts to bring Southwest Airlines to Northwest Florida.  The airline will make its inaugural flight to the newly built Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport on Sunday, May 23, 2010.

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In existence since 1946, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is Florida’s premier nonprofit, hospitality industry trade association. FRLA safeguards the needs of the hospitality industry, improves the business climate, promotes the highest levels of quality and safety for our patrons, provides legislative advocacy, and eases navigation of government regulation. The Association represents and serves more than 10,000 independent and household name members, including theme parks and the largest casual theme restaurant company in the world. For more information, please go to www.FRLA.org.

Coastal Vision 3000 is a private, non-profit organization that was birthed over 3 years in order to create a consistent, branded identity for our region, in order to increase national and international awareness, to support our local tourism and economic development professionals, and grow our market.  For more information, please go to www.TheBeachFla.com.

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1 Bay Point May 13, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Buddy Runnels is someone who can not be trusted. He purchased Bay Point with partners a few years ago and has since backed out of the venture leaving many friends and investors questioning his ethics. He thought he could change Bay County. He lost $1MM and he footprint with his friends and at Bay Point will be felt for a long time. Shame on Buddy Runnels, the bible beater who talks bad about people behind their backs.

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2 pcb999 May 14, 2010 at 12:12 am

Always run when a business man likes to flaunt his religion. It should send off warning bells in your head.

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3 Andy Normanti May 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

This is a huge scam. Avoid like the plague. Buddy, Mel and Dawn are all crooks and may God have mercy upon their souls.

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4 Bernard May 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

Take them all to Louisiana, Plenty of Tar and Feathers there….lol

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