Marco Island is “trending” all over the Internet right now on the strength of being chosen TripAdvisor’s 2014 best island in the United States.

Beefing up that image, and particularly delighting local resort managers and business owners, is a fourth place in the world. That means the site’s voters rate Marco and its attractions above some very fine worldwide destinations.

Facebook and Twitter are alive with comments on Marco, and international papers and news sources are still publishing and commenting on the results.

Criteria for the awards are not specifically listed by the site, but they are are based on contributing travelers’ reviews and ratings of hotels, restaurants and attractions over 12 months. The free site is supported by an advertising business model with shares at the moment topping $100.

In its description of Marco, TripAdvisor describes the island as a perfect destination for those who crave a peaceful retreat, but don’t have time to travel too far off the grid.

“The jewel of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island’s soft white beaches overlook the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico,” states the site. “Scavenge for seashells or hit the links for a sunny session of golf. Explore the Everglades in a swamp buggy, or enjoy a rejuvenating nature hike at the Rookery Bay Reserve.” Also on the United States podium, so to speak, are Chincoteague Island, Va., and Anna Maria Island near Bradenton.

Also on the United States podium, so to speak, are Chincoteague Island, Va., and Anna Maria Island near Bradenton.

Top world destinations just edging Marco are Ambertris Caye, Belize Caye; Prividenciales, Turks & Caicos, and Bora Bora, Society Islands. But Marco beats out islands such as Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides; Naxos in the Aegean Sea; Aitutaki in the Southern Cook Islands, and Nosy Be in Madagascar.

A snap survey of local residents, innkeepers and business people revealed that Marco Islanders weren’t really taken by surprise at the results.

Chamber President Jacquie Koon: “Trip advisor’s rating confirms what many have known for years. Marco island provides a unique ambiance that is well-suited to tourists, seasonal visitors and most importantly the people and businesses that are fortunate to live here permanently. CJ’s on the bay is proud to be part if this wonderful community.”

Marriott resort GM Rick Medwedeff: “This recognition of Marco Island as the #1 island in the United States and #4 in the World is primarily the by-product of the 12 Hotels and 99 Restaurants guest feedback that is on TripAdvisor that talks about the great experience this island and its businesses offer.

“TripAdvisor is a social media site that captures reviews from visitors to our restaurants, hotels, and any other establishment that is registered with TripAdvisor. It is the fact that just in the hotel segment of Marco Island, there are 5,000 reviews that share stories and evaluations of the product and services that our visitors experience. It is the fact that the overwhelming majority of these reviews are excellent that has earned us this recognition.”

World traveler Dave Pattison: “Since I have had the opportunity to visit and explore many islands and resorts in the U.S. and throughout the world, I can unabashedly proclaim Marco Island as the premier place to visit or live for lifestyle and enjoyment. It combines pleasure with value and activity with relaxation. Go Marco.

Historian and author Michael Coleman: “Such news is a testament to the Mackle brothers,” he said in reference to Elliott, Robert and Frank Mackle, Jr., who developed modern Marco Island from scratch beginning in 1965.

“They envisioned a waterfront community like no other with a complete range of resort and leisure living. It was a spectacular concept back then and now, some 50 years later, it still resonates with visitors from across the globe as they discover the brother’s timeless gem.’”

Coleman’s second book about the island: Marco Island, Florida’s Gulf Playground, is due out in December, 2014. His first book, Marco Island, Culture & History, was published in 1995.

Hilton Resort GM, Mac Chaudhry: “This is fantastic news and recognition for the whole island. The ranking will help to get a lot of free publicity to promote the area worldwide. “We should all be very proud of our little piece of paradise. “I have received a lot of e-mail notes in this regard from our return guests locally and overseas, including a congrats message from a resort manager from Hawaii. They are not too happy that Marco Island beat their islands.”

Island Country Club Director of Member Services, Melody Kappauf: “We’re excited that Marco Island has been awarded this prestigious designation and to be a part of what makes Marco great.

“Island Country Club was built back in 1966, when Deltona began developing the island as one of its primary features. The Mackle Brothers knew that golf was going to be a big part of the island’s future. Since then the members and staff have worked, through our charitable organization and contributions, to give back to this beautiful piece of paradise. We are very proud of our 48 years supporting Marco Island and all that makes it wonderful. Congratulations Marco Island.”

Marco Island Area Association of Realtors President, Bette McGilvray: “Marco Island brings visitors the best that the Ten Thousand Islands has to offer. It’s obvious that these rankings will increase our recognition nationally and internationally. It will draw visitors and potential home buyers to explore our beautiful Island. This worldwide recognition will surely increase our exposure year round, not just seasonally. I predict a boost to our local economy as well. We are proud of the recognition given to us when there are so many beautiful Islands all over the world. It is an honor, and we thank TripAdvisor for this recognition.”

Charter captain Carlos Escarra: “Marco Island offer a very unique appeal from the water that is unlike any other places in the US. With its endless chain of mangrove islands to the south – untouched by development – and miles of beautiful secluded white sand beaches, it is loaded with an ambulant variety of sea shells that offer the boater or fishing angler a rewarding day of exploring and catching fresh fish.“The mazes of mangrove island offer the angler a safe, calm place to fish, even if the winds and surf don’t allow for a day of offshore fishing.

see the full link in the Marco Island Sun Times here

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