Here's the direct quote from last weekend's Sunday Times about Key West - the UK's largest selling Sunday newspaper, selling millions of copies every Sunday:
'Some of the islands are best avoided - Key West, especially, is a commercialised, overcrowded disappointment - but others are simply splendid.'
The author - Chris Haslam - then goes on to nominate Hawk's Cay Resort on Duck Key as the best location for families in the Keys.
I'd love to tell you the Sunday Times is not influential in the UK, but it is - so this is a bad, really bad, review for Key West.
I know, I know... the author has totally missed the point about Key West. He needs to look beyond the commercialism to the history, heritage, bars, the the people of Key West. I wonder if he's ever visited and, if so, how many times? So KW might, maybe, not be Florida's #1 destination for families, but please remember that there's more to life than families. Big time.
More broadly, this raises issues for the Tourist Development Council and all the other tourist associations, chambers of commerce, business guilds that promote Key West. What is the strategy to gain greater positive sentiment from international and domestic journalists for Key West? And avoid this poor coverage?
On the bright side, I saw that Key West was one of only 16 global destinations (the full list is: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Palm Springs, Paris, Provincetown, Puerto Vallarta, Miami, Key West, Fort Lauderdale and Toronto) to get its only Expedia Gay Guide.
I am having problems accessing the guide because of Expedia's stupid site (cookies won't allow me in to view the US site, so it defaults me to a UK view which won't show the gay US sites I want to see).
But it looks like the Expedia site recommends KW for it's 'quirky vibe.'
Here's some more direct stuff from the Expedia guide:
While clubs are fewer, Key West can be quite rowdy! Try afternoon tea dances at La Te Da hotel. At night, hit Duval Street’s Bourbon Street Complex. [their exclamation mark, not mine - are they serious?!!]
From pirate museums to the Hemingway House, absorb the culture of Key West.
Which is perfect. Shame the UK Sunday Times guy couldn't be bothered to see that!