Florida State University Panama City logo   Explore Northwest Florida logo with green background

Northwest Florida Ecotourism Summit

February 25, 2020

FSU PC Holley Academic Center

8:00am – 5:00pm


Florida State University, Panama City is excited to team up with the Explore Northwest Florida organization to host the Northwest Florida Ecotourism Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, February 25, 2020.  According to the United Nations Travel Organization, Ecotourism is the fastest growing segment within the travel industry.

This summit will bring in industry leaders, educators, students, potential new businesses and eco-friendly enthusiasts to Panama City to enhance our ecotourism communities in the Florida Panhandle.

Participation in this event enhances awareness of educational opportunities, fosters community engagement, and expands business partnerships.  Our objectives through this Summit are to:

  • Promote Ecotourism best practices in business development, marketing, risk management, and operations
  • Educate on Sustainable Ecotourism
  • Encourage Ecotourism Ethics / Wildlife Disturbance Issues
  • Explore available resources from FSU PC, Explore Northwest Florida and other Ecotourism support organizations

Join us as we learn from industry leaders, government officials and organization, along with Industry and resource panels. 


KeyNote Speaker:

Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA President & CEO

Dana Young CEO Visit Florida headshot

As VISIT FLORIDA’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Dana Young leads Florida’s official destination marketing organization in partnership with its Board of Directors and the statewide tourism industry.

Throughout her career, Dana has served in leadership positions working to cultivate and protect Florida’s exceptional business climate and a world-class quality of life. As an attorney at Fowler, White, Boggs, P.A. in Tampa, she represented a broad spectrum of businesses, landowners, and individuals in areas of regulatory compliance, permitting, zoning, and administrative law proceedings.

Dana served in the Florida House from 2010 through 2016, rising to Majority Leader for the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. In 2016, she was elected to the Florida Senate, where she represented parts of western Hillsborough County for two years. Dana was recommended for the VISIT FLORIDA position by Governor Ron DeSantis and was unanimously approved by the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors on January 7, 2019. In addition to her duties as President and CEO, she is a member of the U.S. Travel Association’s Chairman’s Circle.

Dana is a sixth-generation Floridian and was born and raised in Tallahassee. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Florida State University and, in pursuit of her interest in law and public policy, graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1993. In her free time, Dana enjoys spending time in natural Florida and tarpon fishing with her husband, Matt, and two daughters, Alexandra and Carson.


Also featuring:

Dan Rowe, Director & CEO, Visit Panama City Beach                         

Chuck Hatcher, Assistant Director of Recreation & Parks, DEP

Brett Cyphers, Executive Director, NWF Water Management District     

Danny Bivins, Senior Public Service Associate, University of Georgia

Dr. Glen Aiken, Director, NF Research & Education Center, UF IFAS

Anne Glick, Wildlife Viewing Program Administrator, FWC                    

Dr. Sandra Halvorson, FSU PC

Brian Baber, MS FSU PC

Ray Windham, Lilypad Adventures                   

Michael O’Brian Garcia, Florida Olive Grower Association

Kristy Terry, Executive Director, North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group

For more information contact:

Joy Saddler, FSU at jsaddler@fsu.edu 850.420.9439 or

Betty Webb, ENWFL at bettytaylor.webb@gmail.com 850-323-0567