Destination Marketing Organizations team up with United, SRQ and IAD to host meeting professionals via nonstop Washington Dulles flight

SARASOTA, Florida (October 28, 2019) – Visit Sarasota County (VSC) and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (BACVB) celebrated the inaugural United Airlines nonstop Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) flight on Sunday, October 27. The flight opened many opportunities because of the corporations and associations surrounding Washington Dulles, many of whom will now consider Sarasota County and the Bradenton area for meetings.

After welcoming United Airlines Flight 3402 at SRQ, Virginia Haley, President, VSC, Elliott Falcione, Executive Director, BACVB, and Christian Dorn, Marketing Program Manager, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority  led a group of meeting professionals, who arrived on the flight, to Muse at The Ringling for a celebration luncheon and tour. A more extensive tour of the both destinations will occur until October 30, 2019.

This is a prime example of how VSC and BACVB work with industry partners, whether meeting professionals, airlines, airports, media or each other, to promote the destination and attract visitors.

Elliott Falcione, Executive Director, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

“Our destination has recently seen a tremendous expansion of non-stop flights into and out of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, which is quickly growing into one of the best airports in the region, further setting the Bradenton/Sarasota Area apart from other beach destinations in the state. We are thrilled to see the new United Flight from Dulles as the D.C. area is historically an important market for destination visitation from leisure travelers, groups and meetings. We know that those who take advantage of the flight (and especially the planners on the inaugural flight) will enjoy the convenience of flying into SRQ and landing minutes from the world-class beaches, dining, arts and more offered in the destination. We look forward to working with VSC, United Airlines, SRQ and IAD on this initiative and hope that it is just the first of many.”


Ankit Gupta, Vice President of Domestic Network Planning, United Airlines

“We’re giving our customers throughout the Washington region more access and options to fly to Florida. We’re excited to add Sarasota to Dulles and give fliers from the sunshine state another convenient connection to our vast network.”


Rick Piccolo, President, CEO, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

“We are excited to see United Airlines offering two daily nonstop flights between Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) and SRQ starting October 27th. These new flights will provide direct access to the Sarasota/Bradenton Area from the Nation’s Capital and also provide domestic and international travelers the ability to connect through one of United’s hub cities.”


Ellen Thomas, Senior Meetings Sales Manager, Visit Sarasota County

“Air access to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport has significantly increased in the last year, with the addition of nearly 40 non-stop flights to our existing schedule. This has opened a new era to meeting professionals sourcing Sarasota, to whom convenient group airlift access is a key factor in destination selection. Additionally, the convenient location of SRQ, only 5 miles from our largest meeting hotels, makes getting to your meeting or incentive location here a breeze. For this Familiarization Tour, known in the industry as a ‘FAM,’ it has been a true pleasure partnering with United Airlines, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, Bradenton Convention and Visitors Bureau, and local hotels, attractions and restaurants. We have planned a varied and fun agenda to show off our amazing destinations to our special guests!”

About Sarasota County

Visit Sarasota County leads and supports the tourism industry in Sarasota County by providing the highest quality, and most innovative, marketing programs and promotions to ensure the continued growth of tourism and travel from visitors around the world. It is the mission of VSC is to make Sarasota County the must experience destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast. To learn more, visit


Media Contact: Britney Guertin, 941-216-8889