The Anna Maria Island business community, tourism promoters, environmental groups and local governments could take a tip from the new Ocean Allies project in Clearwater Beach.
Ocean Allies plans to turn Clearwater Beach – named the best beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor in 2018 and 2016 – into the most highly-recognized, ocean-friendly beach in the world, catering to ecotourists, a growing market.
The team is working to involve businesses, nonprofits, chambers of commerce and city governments to develop and implement conservation strategies with the goal of improving the health of oceans and beaches and creating an eco-friendly Clearwater Beach brand. Participating organizations will become “Ocean Allies certified.”
And they want to share their strategies with other beach communities like ours.
Clearwater Beach business leaders, vacation rental managers and residents launched the project in October, inspired by Winter the Dolphin, made famous in the Dolphin Tale films depicting her rescue and rehabilitation at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Ocean Allies is led by David Yates, executive director and CEO of the aquarium, which will help promote the project worldwide on its media platforms.
Ocean Allies seems like a natural for us, especially in light of the impact of the three-month-and-counting red tide on our local tourism businesses.
We have Parker Aquarium, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Inc., the Manatee County parks department with its public beaches and preserves, the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, The Chiles Group, three city governments, each with environmentally-aware officials, Island real estate agencies, community-minded retail business owners and concerned residents that could put this together, with publicity in The Anna Maria Island Sun’s print and digital editions.
Anyone interesting in catching this ball and running with it, please contact Julia Anderson at [email protected] or 727-686-3499.
Let’s be Ocean Allies.