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Hotels expect busy season in Southwest Florida

One of the main reasons people are coming to Southwest Florida — the beaches.

And some hotels are saying they are already having their busiest season yet, and they have the cold weather up north to thank or it.

“This will be on the books the busiest November we are going to have,” said Gary Lee, the group sales manager at Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina.

Hotels are pleasantly surprised more people are flocking to Southwest Florida.

“The phones are picking up,” Lee said. “The cold up north has people second guessing wanting to be up there.”

Visitors are coming to Southwest Florida to avoid winter at their homes.

“It is snowing right now in Chicago,” Patricia Williams said.

“If you’re from the Midwest where we are, today it is 26 degrees in Columbus, Ohio,” Frank Reed said.

“I don’t want to go back home at all,” Luke Paskey said. “I don’t want to shovel.”

But longer waits at restaurants and getting stuck at traffic lights have some Floridians dreading this time of year.

“I see traffic on a daily basis,” John Dulaney said. “It’s picking up. It’s kind of a pain to drive through it.”

Trying to find parking is a whole different story.

“I work at the hospital,” Michelle Tumbri said. “And going to a parking space in the morning, I can’t even find one anymore. Versus a month ago, the whole parking lot was open.”

Hotels say they think it’s just the beginning of a very busy season in Southwest Florida, so commutes should and beach days should be planned ahead of time.

At the end of the day, seeing sunsets in Southwest Florida reminds them why they live in paradise and why Southwest Florida is a top winter destination.

“It’s worth it,” Dulaney said.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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