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Sun Sentinel article 28 May 2006 - my 2 cents after an AP interview

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  • Sun Sentinel article 28 May 2006 - my 2 cents after an AP interview

    Nude resorts taking off the gloves in fight for customers
    --------------------

    By PHIL DAVIS
    The Associated Press

    May 28, 2006, 11:49 AM EDT

    LAND O' LAKES, Fla.--The photo of the attractive brunette is
    strategically cropped, but the ad makes it clear she's wearing nothing but a
    smile. The pitch: she swims nude at Paradise Lakes Resort and so can you.

    Lake Como, Paradise's across-the-lake neighbor, promises a more rustic
    family-style retreat, including naked camping and karaoke on its
    210-acre grounds.

    Just up the road, brash newcomer Caliente Resort and Spa entices
    nudists with conspicuous consumerism--flashy facilities, lavish homes and a
    medical spa featuring laser hair removal.

    Three of Pasco County's six nudist resorts are taking off the gloves
    and everything else as they attempt to attract more of the worldwide
    clothing-optional market, which has tripled in size since 1992.

    ``Pasco is becoming the Mecca of North American nudism,'' said Richard
    Mason, an activist who helped open a stretch of Miami-Dade County's
    Haulover Beach to nudists in 1991. ``A lot of people think nudists live in
    a colony like hippies. Then you see a place like Caliente. It's like a
    country club.''

    Pasco's nudist tussle began in the late 1990s when Paradise manager
    Chuck Foster broke away and began planning the 120-acre Caliente facility.
    Over the years, he's brought over several Paradise employees, most
    recently Deb Bowen, who is now Caliente's marketing director.

    ``They took the best of our ideas,'' said Joe Lettelleir, president of
    the 72-acre Paradise Lakes resort. ``They didn't create their own
    identity. The bottom line is there were some growing pains. We certainly
    wish them well.''

    Modesty is not a nudist's strong point. That's certainly true at
    Caliente.

    The resort's $300-a-night Mediterranean-themed waterfront villas and
    expansive pools featuring waterfall grottoes have knocked Paradise Lakes
    from the pinnacle of the nudist resort pyramid.

    Now Caliente is circulating plans to add an RV section that could
    threaten some of the smaller resorts that cater to motoring nudists.

    ``There is nothing like this in the nudist world,'' Bowen said of the
    resort.

    ``I felt we could do it better, which, obviously, we have,'' Foster
    said. ``Como is rustic. Paradise is Motel 6. This is the Ritz Carlton.''

    Doug and Adele Butler, a Virginia couple looking to settle into early
    retirement, chose Caliente over a nudist resort in Palm Springs, Calif.

    ``We love the freedom of being nude. And look at our view,'' said Adele
    Butler, pointing to the lily covered lakes behind her $500,000 Caliente
    home. ``We come home to a resort.''

    But Caliente left Illinois retirees Denny and Arlene Reed a little
    cold.

    ``We had considered it, but Lake Como seemed more friendly to us,''
    said 63-year-old Denny Reed, sitting pool side wearing only a baseball cap
    and a deep tan.

    ``Competition is a good thing. They all look at each other and learn.
    Each one offers a different experience.''

    Cheri Alexander, founder of the Travelites nudist club in South
    Carolina, said the larger resorts such as Paradise and Caliente tend to
    capture most of the attention of the American Association of Nude Recreation.

    ``I don't think the mom-and-pop operations are being pushed out, but I
    think marketing is being focused on the larger clubs instead of the
    smaller ones like Lake Como,'' Alexander said. ``I sometimes have to
    remind the powers-that-be in our organization to remember the mom and
    pops.''

    The American Association of Nude Recreation estimates nudists pump
    about $400 million into the global tourism economy, up from $120 million in
    1992. The association says its ranks have grown 75 percent to 50,000
    members in that time.

    Nudists can chose from 270 clubs, resorts and campgrounds in the United
    States.

    And a lot of that business comes to Pasco County, where most of the six
    resorts are concentrated along a six-mile stretch of U.S. 41 in Land O'
    Lakes, about 20 miles north of Tampa.

    County officials say it impossible to put a tax value on the dozens of
    condos, homes and hundreds of acres of land owned by nudists.

    ``They're good neighbors,'' Pasco County Commissioner Pat Mulieri said.
    ``They provide a wide tax base. It's great. We get people from all over
    the world.''

    Nudist resorts brought in a sizable chunk of the $807,000 in tourist
    tax revenue collected in the county last year, good money in an area with
    no major tourist attractions. Pasco has reserved a spot on its tourism
    board for a nudist.

    Florida's collection of nudist resorts are barely acknowledged by state
    and local tourism officials who stick to safer terrain such as Disney,
    the mermaids of Weeki Wachee springs or Busch Gardens, major
    attractions that flank Pasco's nudist resorts in all directions.

    Still, Lettelleir likes to think Pasco's ``It's only natural'' ad
    campaign is a cheeky nod to the nudist economy.

    ``We thought that was great,'' Lettelleir said. ``We call it our joint
    slogan. They don't see it that way. They're not willing to carry that
    as their theme, but the county and city governments aren't ashamed of
    us.''

    All three major resorts aim to keep the money train rolling, with
    additional condos and RV space. Paradise and Caliente are opening new
    locations in other states and the Dominican Republic.

    They are also marketing to college-age kids.

    Caliente wants to capture part of the young party crowd in Tampa's Ybor
    City.

    Paradise joined forces with a 21-year-old University of South Florida
    public relations student to market free admission, cheap beer and
    reverse strip poker--you lose, you put clothes on.

    Lettelleir acknowledges it's a hard sell. Contrary to Paradise's
    alluring ad, most of the bare bodies poolside are decidedly middle-aged.

    ``I think the industry will continue to grow, but it will not grow
    through the college ranks,'' Lettelleir said. ``The younger generation
    doesn't have a problem with the nudity; they just don't particularly go and
    belong to things.''

    Copyright (c) 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    Visit Sun-Sentinel.com

  • #2
    Nude resorts taking off the gloves in fight for customers
    --------------------

    By PHIL DAVIS
    The Associated Press

    May 28, 2006, 11:49 AM EDT

    LAND O' LAKES, Fla.--The photo of the attractive brunette is
    strategically cropped, but the ad makes it clear she's wearing nothing but a
    smile. The pitch: she swims nude at Paradise Lakes Resort and so can you.

    Lake Como, Paradise's across-the-lake neighbor, promises a more rustic
    family-style retreat, including naked camping and karaoke on its
    210-acre grounds.

    Just up the road, brash newcomer Caliente Resort and Spa entices
    nudists with conspicuous consumerism--flashy facilities, lavish homes and a
    medical spa featuring laser hair removal.

    Three of Pasco County's six nudist resorts are taking off the gloves
    and everything else as they attempt to attract more of the worldwide
    clothing-optional market, which has tripled in size since 1992.

    ``Pasco is becoming the Mecca of North American nudism,'' said Richard
    Mason, an activist who helped open a stretch of Miami-Dade County's
    Haulover Beach to nudists in 1991. ``A lot of people think nudists live in
    a colony like hippies. Then you see a place like Caliente. It's like a
    country club.''

    Pasco's nudist tussle began in the late 1990s when Paradise manager
    Chuck Foster broke away and began planning the 120-acre Caliente facility.
    Over the years, he's brought over several Paradise employees, most
    recently Deb Bowen, who is now Caliente's marketing director.

    ``They took the best of our ideas,'' said Joe Lettelleir, president of
    the 72-acre Paradise Lakes resort. ``They didn't create their own
    identity. The bottom line is there were some growing pains. We certainly
    wish them well.''

    Modesty is not a nudist's strong point. That's certainly true at
    Caliente.

    The resort's $300-a-night Mediterranean-themed waterfront villas and
    expansive pools featuring waterfall grottoes have knocked Paradise Lakes
    from the pinnacle of the nudist resort pyramid.

    Now Caliente is circulating plans to add an RV section that could
    threaten some of the smaller resorts that cater to motoring nudists.

    ``There is nothing like this in the nudist world,'' Bowen said of the
    resort.

    ``I felt we could do it better, which, obviously, we have,'' Foster
    said. ``Como is rustic. Paradise is Motel 6. This is the Ritz Carlton.''

    Doug and Adele Butler, a Virginia couple looking to settle into early
    retirement, chose Caliente over a nudist resort in Palm Springs, Calif.

    ``We love the freedom of being nude. And look at our view,'' said Adele
    Butler, pointing to the lily covered lakes behind her $500,000 Caliente
    home. ``We come home to a resort.''

    But Caliente left Illinois retirees Denny and Arlene Reed a little
    cold.

    ``We had considered it, but Lake Como seemed more friendly to us,''
    said 63-year-old Denny Reed, sitting pool side wearing only a baseball cap
    and a deep tan.

    ``Competition is a good thing. They all look at each other and learn.
    Each one offers a different experience.''

    Cheri Alexander, founder of the Travelites nudist club in South
    Carolina, said the larger resorts such as Paradise and Caliente tend to
    capture most of the attention of the American Association of Nude Recreation.

    ``I don't think the mom-and-pop operations are being pushed out, but I
    think marketing is being focused on the larger clubs instead of the
    smaller ones like Lake Como,'' Alexander said. ``I sometimes have to
    remind the powers-that-be in our organization to remember the mom and
    pops.''

    The American Association of Nude Recreation estimates nudists pump
    about $400 million into the global tourism economy, up from $120 million in
    1992. The association says its ranks have grown 75 percent to 50,000
    members in that time.

    Nudists can chose from 270 clubs, resorts and campgrounds in the United
    States.

    And a lot of that business comes to Pasco County, where most of the six
    resorts are concentrated along a six-mile stretch of U.S. 41 in Land O'
    Lakes, about 20 miles north of Tampa.

    County officials say it impossible to put a tax value on the dozens of
    condos, homes and hundreds of acres of land owned by nudists.

    ``They're good neighbors,'' Pasco County Commissioner Pat Mulieri said.
    ``They provide a wide tax base. It's great. We get people from all over
    the world.''

    Nudist resorts brought in a sizable chunk of the $807,000 in tourist
    tax revenue collected in the county last year, good money in an area with
    no major tourist attractions. Pasco has reserved a spot on its tourism
    board for a nudist.

    Florida's collection of nudist resorts are barely acknowledged by state
    and local tourism officials who stick to safer terrain such as Disney,
    the mermaids of Weeki Wachee springs or Busch Gardens, major
    attractions that flank Pasco's nudist resorts in all directions.

    Still, Lettelleir likes to think Pasco's ``It's only natural'' ad
    campaign is a cheeky nod to the nudist economy.

    ``We thought that was great,'' Lettelleir said. ``We call it our joint
    slogan. They don't see it that way. They're not willing to carry that
    as their theme, but the county and city governments aren't ashamed of
    us.''

    All three major resorts aim to keep the money train rolling, with
    additional condos and RV space. Paradise and Caliente are opening new
    locations in other states and the Dominican Republic.

    They are also marketing to college-age kids.

    Caliente wants to capture part of the young party crowd in Tampa's Ybor
    City.

    Paradise joined forces with a 21-year-old University of South Florida
    public relations student to market free admission, cheap beer and
    reverse strip poker--you lose, you put clothes on.

    Lettelleir acknowledges it's a hard sell. Contrary to Paradise's
    alluring ad, most of the bare bodies poolside are decidedly middle-aged.

    ``I think the industry will continue to grow, but it will not grow
    through the college ranks,'' Lettelleir said. ``The younger generation
    doesn't have a problem with the nudity; they just don't particularly go and
    belong to things.''

    Copyright (c) 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    Visit Sun-Sentinel.com

    Comment


    • #3
      A related Pasco County news story - Florida County Quietly Cashes In On Nudist Resorts

      http://www.news4jax.com/news/9284205...s=jax&psp=news


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