Operations

South Florida Expects Busy, VIP Winter Wine Festival

LCT Staff
Posted on January 23, 2008

NAPLES, Fla. — They’ll arrive in private jets and will be whisked away in limos as hundreds of well-to-do Naples -goers make their annual trek to Southwest Florida this week for the Winter Wine Festival.

For many Southwest Florida companies specializing in transportation, the festival is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, times of the year.

And with millions of dollars at stake for the community, the pressure is on to give festival clientele the VIP treatment they expect.

For the Naples Municipal Airport, where many of the wealthy attendees will be landing their private or corporate jets, officials are expecting an increase in the number of landings and takeoffs during the festival, airport spokeswoman AnneElena Foster said. On an average day 300 aircraft arrive or leave the airport, but on busy days that increases to 400 to 600.

Officials are anticipating as many as 100 large jets parked on airport grounds this weekend.

On Friday afternoon about 240 luxury vehicles will be on Collier County roads picking up festival-goers and taking them to their dinners, said Sue Scott, co-owner of the Fort Myers-based Elite Limousine Services of Southwest Florida. Scott said she has been working since June to line up limousines and luxury sedans for the festival.

All the local limo companies participate in the festival, as do companies from Tampa, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Scott said.

On a regular night the cost to rent a limousine is about $70 an hour with a 20 percent gratuity and a fuel surcharge, Scott said. A luxury sedan is about $50 to $60, plus gratuity and surcharge, she said.

Scott is not allowed to divulge the price a festival-goer pays for a limo or luxury sedan, but they do receive at least a $10 to $15 discount because it is for charity, she said.

“They’re all treated as VIPs,” Scott said.

SOURCE: Naples Daily News

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