Sunshine Matters

Tallahassee Area Yellow Cab Shows Support for VISIT FLORIDA

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Sunshine Matters | 0 comments

To show support for a fully funded VISIT FLORIDA, Tallahassee area Yellow Cab has equipped 30 taxi cabs with toppers to share the message to Tallahassee residents that “Tourism Works for Florida.” The company placed the advertisements to promote the 1.4 million jobs created by the tourism industry in Florida. The toppers, which are being provided by Yellow Cab at no cost to VISIT FLORIDA, will remain on the taxi cabs throughout the 2017 Legislative session. Last year, Florida welcomed a record 112.8 million visitors. To learn more, go to Ken Lawson President & CEO Email or Share This...

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Importance of Our Industry on Full Display at Florida Tourism Day 2017

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 in Sunshine Matters | 0 comments

Yesterday, VISIT FLORIDA and nine other statewide organizations hosted the industry’s annual Florida Tourism Day at the Capitol. This year, there is no doubt that because of the participation of more than 600 of our Industry Partners from 44 counties, Tourism Day was a complete success. The strength and importance of our industry was on full display for lawmakers in the Capitol. Without the support of the job creators in our tourism industry, we would be fighting an uphill battle on our own. Between the morning program and lunch, more than 50 legislative meetings, our Fight for Florida Jobs Rally with Governor Scott, and Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s well-attended street party, the full influence of our industry could not be ignored. We sent the message that although the Florida House passed a bill to harm VISIT FLORIDA last week, we are continuing to communicate our value to everyday Floridians and we will not stop until VISIT FLORIDA is fully funded and set up for success. Click here to watch Governor Scott talk about the importance of VISIT FLORIDA during our Fight for Florida Jobs Rally. Many thanks to Cabinet members Adam Putnam, Jeff Atwater and Pam Bondi, plus Rep. Wengay Newton and Carol Dover with FRLA, for their support at the Rally as well. Four industry representatives also spoke at the Rally about how vital their partnership with VISIT FLORIDA is to the success of their businesses – Ed Caum, Pam Fuqua, Matt Tuchman and Christina Schwartman. We’d also like to thank Sens. Jack Latvala and Wilton Simpson, and Rep. Ray Rodrigues, for speaking at the morning program. The 2017 Florida Tourism Day hosts included the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism -which is comprised of VISIT FLORIDA, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Florida Attractions Association, the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations and the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds – as well as the Florida Association of Museums, the Florida Sports Foundation, the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the U.S. Travel Association. Thank you to our fellow hosts, those who traveled to Tallahassee and to the entire industry for your work to protect the 1.4 million tourism jobs in Florida. Ken Lawson President & CEO Email or Share This...

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VISIT FLORIDA Now Accepting 2017-2018 Committee Applications

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Sunshine Matters | Comments Off on VISIT FLORIDA Now Accepting 2017-2018 Committee Applications

VISIT FLORIDA’s greatest strength has been, and will always be, the input and guidance we receive from the members of the Florida tourism industry. Now more than ever, it is vital that VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts are strengthened by the direct involvement of volunteer leaders representing our industry. The way we market the Sunshine State to the world has transformed over the last several years and will continue to evolve exponentially in the years to come. VISIT FLORIDA creates marketing programs and opportunities that provide value for our industry partners, but we cannot continue to do so without their strategic direction. We invite our valued members of the Florida tourism industry to join their peers in service on one of VISIT FLORIDA’s committees for 2017-2018. Apply for a 2017-2018 VISIT FLORIDA committee here. Committee appointments are made annually by the incoming Chairman of the Board and run from July 1 through June 30, in conjunction with our fiscal year. The application deadline is April 7. Please contact Sally Davis at (850) 205-3854 or with any questions. As we work together to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world, please know how much I appreciate the commitment and continued support of VISIT FLORIDA and the statewide tourism industry by each and every one of our Partners around the state. Ken Lawson President & CEO Email or Share This...

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Make Your Plans Now to Join Us for Florida Tourism Day 2017

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Sunshine Matters | Comments Off on Make Your Plans Now to Join Us for Florida Tourism Day 2017

As the state’s No. 1 industry, welcoming visitors who generate $11.3 billion in state and local taxes and employ 1.4 million Floridians, it’s important to let our lawmakers know how vital tourism is to Florida and its residents. It’s also crucial that our legislators understand the role VISIT FLORIDA plays in ensuring the Sunshine State remains a top tourism destination for visitors from around the globe. I encourage you to join us, and hundreds of your fellow tourism industry members on March 14 in Tallahassee for Florida Tourism Day 2017. The purpose of Florida Tourism Day is to provide industry leaders with the chance to have their voices heard. Following a morning program featuring speakers from the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism, elected officials and other organizations, attendees will conduct pre-scheduled legislative appointments at the Capitol to share their local stories of how tourism marketing helps increase visitor spending and job creation in their communities. The day concludes with a downtown street festival open to the public. Please make your plans today to advocate with the members of the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism and other supporting organizations in Tallahassee on March 14. Secure your spot now by clicking here, and rally your colleagues to do the same before online registration closes on March 3. On-site registration will also be available at an increased rate. Learn more about Florida Tourism Day 2017 and the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism at Please contact Sally Davis at with any questions. We look forward to seeing you on March 14! Meredith DaSilva Vice President, Executive Operations and Administration Email or Share This...

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Gov. Scott Announces Florida Set Another Tourism Record in 2016

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Sunshine Matters | Comments Off on Gov. Scott Announces Florida Set Another Tourism Record in 2016

During a press conference at the Brevard Zoo this morning, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming the highest number of visitors in the state’s history with 112.8 million in 2016. This is the sixth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 106.6 million in 2015 by 5.9 percent. Tourism jobs also hit a record high in 2016 of 1.4 million jobs, exceeding the previous record in 2015. Governor Scott said, “Today, I am proud to announce that Florida has once again welcomed a record number of tourists with 112.8 million visitors to the state in 2016. Visitors spent $109 billion and supported a record 1.4 million Florida jobs in 2016 – a testament to the vital importance of tourism to our growing economy. “I have seen firsthand how tourism impacts our state. Since I have been in office, we have made important investments in VISIT FLORIDA and broken record after record of visitors, added more than a million new residents and seen Florida’s private sector create more than 1.25 million new jobs. Unfortunately, even with these incredible successes, politicians in the Florida House are trying to eliminate VISIT FLORIDA. I don’t understand how anyone can look at Florida’s booming tourism industry, and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports, and vote to kill it. The legislation the Florida House is pushing puts more than 1.4 million jobs at risk and we cannot let that happen. We have to fight to continue investing in our tourism industry so we can keep breaking records and adding even more jobs. “Over the past week, I have traveled the state meeting with small business owners, economic development leaders, tourism leaders, community members and hardworking Floridians who all had a clear message – Florida’s economy needs tourism. Last year, Florida was challenged like never before as we faced the Zika virus, two hurricanes and the terror attack at Pulse Nightclub. In the face of adversity, we continued in our mission to promote our great state and thanks to the hard work of VISIT FLORIDA, we continue to see record visitors to Florida.” In 2015, every 85 tourists supported one job. Today, VISIT FLORIDA data shows that every 76 tourists support one job – proof that tourism continues to be a major and growing influence on job creation in Florida and that we must continue to invest in this vital part of our growing economy. VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 98.0 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in 2016, reflecting a 7.3 percent increase over 2015. Estimates also show that 11.1 million overseas visitors and 3.7 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State last year. Total enplanements at 18 Florida airports during 2016 increased 4.3 percent over the previous year, with a record 83.7 million enplaned passengers. For 2016, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 2.0 percent and the number of rooms sold grew by 1.1 percent compared to 2015. Six years of record-setting visitation would not be possible without a strong global marketing strategy focused on maximizing the economic impact of Florida tourism. To have achieved another tourism record in 2016 given all the challenges this state faced last year is an incredible testament to the cooperative relationship VISIT FLORIDA has with our more than 12,000 industry business partners around the state. Today’s announcement proves that sustained collective tourism marketing works and we have Governor Scott and our supporters in the Florida Legislature to thank for their unparalleled leadership over the past six years that has helped position our...

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Thank You for Your Support

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Sunshine Matters | Comments Off on Thank You for Your Support

Today marks four weeks on the job as President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, and I want to thank the industry for your support. Let me tell you what’s been happening. Today, industry representatives from hotels, restaurants, attractions and every other type of tourism business across the state came to Tallahassee to speak up for VISIT FLORIDA. You showed up to help and your voice was heard. While the bill to eliminate public funding for VISIT FLORIDA may have passed out of the House Careers and Competition Subcommittee this afternoon, I could not be prouder of the way the industry has rallied to make a difference. Today is not the end. The bill will now move on to another House committee for debate and I want to assure you that VISIT FLORIDA will continue to fight. I have already begun meeting with each and every legislator to ensure they know that VIST FLORIDA serves a vital role in marketing destinations large and small in every community of this great state, and that a reduction in our public funding would mean the loss of tax revenue and jobs that benefit their constituents. Constituents just like you. I want to assure you that your legislative team at VISIT FLORIDA is going to keep working hard, but I need your help. To those of you who have been calling, emailing, tweeting and meeting with your legislators, please keep it up. For those of you who are ready to join in the fight, here’s how: Go to and find out how to contact your Senator or Representative Read the Funding Florida Tourism Marketing Infographic and Talking Points to arm yourself with messaging Then call or email your legislators to let them know you support VISIT FLORIDA and oppose the bill Be sure to tell them how you and your business benefit from working with VISIT FLORIDA – those personal and local examples are what really make the difference Thank you again to everyone for your support. We are in this fight together. Ken Lawson President & CEO Email or Share This...

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