Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Florida is one of the most loved vacation destinations in the world. From crystal clear beaches and natural wonders, spectacular fishing spots, and exotic wildlife to enchanted theme parks, fine dining, and motorsports, Florida has something for everyone.
One of Florida’s top attractions, Greater Fort Lauderdale is a destination on Florida’s southeastern coast, known for its beaches and boating canals. Famous for its beaches, arts, culture, and events, Greater Fort Lauderdale is known for many things – from shopping on Las Olas Boulevard to gondola rides on the canals to a historic riverfront.
Welcoming people from all across the planet, Visit Lauderdale is the official destination marketing organization for Greater Fort Lauderdale and serves as the tourism department for Broward County, Florida. Stacy Ritter, President & CEO states, “Our value proposition is that everyone is entitled to travel to a destination where they are welcomed regardless of who they are, what they worship (or don’t), how they identify, and whom they love.”
Welcome to Greater Fort Lauderdale
Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts an average year-round temperature of 77˚F and has 3,000+ hours of annual sunshine and is known as the Venice of America and Yachting Capital of the World. Built around the tagline – Everyone Under the Sun – Visit Lauderdale promotes the area’s 31 municipalities to a global audience of leisure and business travelers as the ideal place for Everyone Under the Sun in recognition of the area’s diverse and welcoming vibe, and books conventions into the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and area hotels and resorts.
Stacy says, “Lots of places have beautiful beaches. What sets our beaches apart are the two million people who call Broward County home, representing 170 nations with 147 languages spoken in our households. The people separate this destination from all others.”
From the shores to the suburbs, Greater Fort Lauderdale is packed with tons of attractions. An area built for beach bums and nature lovers, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts top-notch hotels, restaurants, shopping destinations, and a multitude of attractions throughout its 31 neighborhoods.
Whether you want to embrace the great outdoors at the many parks and natural wonders—the grand dame of them all being the Florida Everglades—snorkel or sunbathe along 24 miles of beautiful beaches, or eat and drink your way around world-class bars and restaurants, Greater Fort Lauderdale has plenty to offer in every neighborhood.
An engaging and easy-to-navigate digital platform, Visit Lauderdale’s official website – https://www.visitlauderdale.com/ is a sea of resources to everything Lauderdale. From sports and entertainment to restaurants, sightseeing, shopping, nightlife, and more, the platform is a one-stop shop for tourists.
Be a Part of the Community
Greater Fort Lauderdale is not just a place. It is a collaboration of people who come together to make their home one of the best tourist attractions in the world. People from all across the world visit Greater Fort Lauderdale year after year due to the warm hospitality and friendly nature of the locals who welcome tourists with open arms.
Visit Lauderdale exists to bring visitors to the destination in order to keep the local economy growing and moving forward. Stacy explains, “Tens of thousands of our residents work directly or indirectly in hospitality. When we fulfill our purpose, our residents have jobs, can feed their families, and find respect and dignity in their daily lives.”
Home to more than two dozen distinct communities, each city, and town is unique, offering its own brand of diversity, vibrant culture, and sense of community. From the breathtaking coastline of the Atlantic Ocean to the expansive Florida Everglades, these cities, each in their own way, make Broward County the best place to live, work and play.
The organization is also proud to partner with the LGBT+ communities, celebrating diversity and inclusion in every way, each day. Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Oakland Park, and Wilton Manors have earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Municipal Equality Index. “We embrace every segment of the LGBT+ community to make everyone feel welcome, comfortable, and safe,” states Stacy.
An attorney by training, licensed by the Florida Bar, Stacy pivoted to become an activist for causes she believes in, such as women’s reproductive freedom. “This prompted me to run for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, where I served the constitutionally allotted eight years. After that, I was elected to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, serving from 2006-2016 with a term as Mayor of the county. I resigned from that position to be appointed to my current one.”
In her current role, she enjoys traveling the world to promote the place she’s called home for 47 years. What was once a predominantly white and very male-dominated town is now a diverse and inclusive destination where 147 languages are spoken, which makes her feel accomplished. “Diversity, inclusion, and accessibility are what we value in our destination, and the need to support those values becomes ever more important as we see the pushback on those values across the US,” states she.
A multifaceted leader, Stacy believes that failure is a part of everyone’s journey. “It’s never fun and never easy, but if you accept it and learn from it, you will be better off as a result. Also, by knowing failure you understand how much sweeter it is to succeed.” Living life by her personal motto – “Failure is definitely an option. Not trying is never an option,” Stacy works hand in hand with the locals and the government to elevate Broward County by curating some of the best attractions the world has to offer.
Skilled in budgeting, government, strategic planning, community outreach, and public speaking, Stacy comes with strong business development skills, with experience in administrative reorganization. She has graduated from Nova Southeastern University—Shepard Broad Law Center.
The Role Model
A role model to the Lauderdale community and several women around the world, Stacy credits her success to her support network of family and friends, “Most notably my husband who believed in me from the first day we met (when I wasn’t so sure I believed in myself). I worked hard for my success. I used to say I was lucky until I read a story that said women always say that while men say they worked hard. What works for me is a combination of the right time, right place, and busting my butt to get and stay there.”
In her free time, Stacy loves to travel and interact with other communities and learn their distinct ways of hospitality. She reads a book a week and likes to paint as well. “I binge-watch everything apocalyptic like “The Last of Us.” I enjoy spinning and shopping. I hate to cook and only turn the oven on for Thanksgiving,” she mentions.
To others, on their journeys to making a difference in their communities and the world Stacy says, “Don’t be afraid to place your personal values onto those of the company. Do not be timid about speaking up and speaking your mind.”
Stacy continues to be excited about pushing her brand even further and increasing their customer base. Diversity, inclusion, and an overall great experience remain paramount to her. To her, it is critical to stand up and be counted among those who believe that diversity is Florida’s greatest strength. “I see us carrying that message and building that message for a larger international audience in both Europe and South America. It’s important that we show people that Florida is a state of 20 million differing people, not a monolithic entity that speaks with one voice,” she states.