Corporate Press Releases

The following are press releases featuring the latest major announcements from VISIT FLORIDA.

For more VISIT FLORIDA corporate news, check out our corporate blog Sunshine Matters.

 

Commissioner Adam Putnam and VISIT FLORIDA Promote Florida Agritourism

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Commissioner Adam Putnam and VISIT FLORIDA Promote Florida Agritourism

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 27, 2016) – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and VISIT FLORIDA today announced a joint effort to highlight Florida’s growing agritourism industry by adding an agritourism feature to VISIT FLORIDA’s Attractions Finder online tool, which allows travelers to identify attractions that best fit their personal preference. This new feature gives travelers the opportunity to explore some of the state’s diverse agritourism attractions, as well as other Florida attractions, as they plan their next visit in the Sunshine State. Whether it’s a u-pick farm, orchid nursery, winery, farm tour or trail ride, Florida’s agritourism attractions offer something for everyone. And now, travelers can plan their next visit to one of Florida’s many agritourism operations at VisitFlorida.com. “Growing agritourism in Florida is a terrific way of marrying two of our oldest industries: tourism and agriculture,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “The growth and success of agritourism in Florida is not only good for our economy, it also celebrates the people, families and businesses that make up Florida agriculture.” “We are delighted to partner with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to promote the state’s unique Florida agritourism options alongside our other amazing attractions,” said Will Seccombe, President & CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “These additions to the Florida Attractions Finder provide a much deeper experience for travelers to explore.” The following are examples of agritourism operations now featured on VISIT FLORIDA’s Attractions Finder: Hutchinson Farm Winery  Long & Scott Farms  R.F. Orchids  Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com. Contact: Aaron Keller (850) 617-7737 Twitter: @FDACSNews...

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Governor Scott: Florida Welcomed Record 105 Million Visitors in 2015

Posted by on Mar 3, 2016 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Governor Scott: Florida Welcomed Record 105 Million Visitors in 2015

February 18, 2016 – During a press conference at Epcot this morning, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015.  This is the fifth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 percent.  The average number of direct travel-related jobs in 2015 was also a record high, with 1,199,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 53,400 or 4.7 percent over the same period last year.  Click here to see a quick YouTube video of the announcement. Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Florida has surpassed our tourism goal and welcomed an historic 105 million visitors to our state in 2015.  The number of travel-related jobs also reached a record high, with 1.2 million Floridians employed in the tourism industry.  Tourism plays an important role in supporting our economy, and we will continue to make strategic investments in the tourism industry to keep Florida on track to becoming first for jobs.  With five consecutive record years for tourism, it is time to set our goal even higher, and I look forward to welcoming 115 million visitors to the Sunshine State this year.” VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 89.8 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in 2015, reflecting an 8.0 percent increase over 2014.  Estimates also show that 11.2 million overseas visitors and 4.0 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State last year.  Total enplanements at 18 Florida airports during 2015 increased 8.2 percent over the previous year, representing a record 6.1 million more enplaned passengers than in 2014. Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, who was on hand for the announcement, said, “As home of the most popular theme park in the world, we’re thrilled to contribute to the record number of visitors to Florida — and the jobs and economic opportunities that tourism helps to create.” Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2015 (last reported month), representing an 8.6 percent increase over the same period in 2014. For 2015, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.9 percent and the number of rooms sold grew by 4.5 percent compared to 2014. Florida’s average occupancy rate for 2015 was 72.0 percent, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2014. This represents a record year for the statewide calendar year occupancy rate, exceeding the previous high of 69.8 percent in 2014. John Tomlin, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, said, “Achieving record visitation for five consecutive years, including reaching 105 million visitors in 2015, is a testament to the strong industry alignment between VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism Partners. Thanks to the visionary support of Governor Scott and the Florida legislature, together we have built a solid foundation that will enable us to reach our goal of generating $100 billion in visitor spending by 2020.” For fourth quarter 2015, preliminary estimates show a record 25.2 million people visited the Sunshine State. This represents the largest fourth quarter visitation number Florida has ever seen and reflects an increase of 6.7 percent over the same period in 2014. VISIT FLORIDA also reports that an estimated 2.9 million overseas visitors and 671,000 Canadians traveled to Florida in the fourth quarter of 2015. Five years...

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Florida’s Tourism Industry Welcomed More Than 97 Million Visitors in 2014

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Florida’s Tourism Industry Welcomed More Than 97 Million Visitors in 2014

2014 Marks Fourth Consecutive Record Year for Florida Tourism  According to preliminary estimates released by VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, 97.3 million visitors came to Florida in 2014, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2013. This is the fourth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 93.7 million in 2013. VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 11.5 million overseas visitors and 3.8 million Canadians came to Florida in 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent increases over 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 4.2 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in 2014 and show that Floridians took a total of 20.2 million in-state pleasure trips. Below are the top countries for international visitation:  Canada                       3,794,000                                Colombia                     511,000  Brazil                           1,748,000                                Germany                     446,000 United Kingdom          1,605,000                                Mexico                           426,000 Argentina                        650,000                                France                         321,000 Venezuela                      511,000                                Australia                      319,000 “In 2014, a record 97.3 million tourists visited the state of Florida, an increase of 3.6 million people.  That means there were nearly 4 percent more visitors spending money in Florida last year,” said Andrew Hertz, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.  “Anyone would be happy to see their business grow by 4 percent year-over-year.  But it is absolutely amazing when an entire industry keeps beating record numbers, while adding jobs and supporting the rest of the state’s economy.” Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.7 percent increase over the same period in 2013.  For 2014, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.7 percent and the number of rooms sold grew by 5.3 percent compared to 2013. Florida’s average occupancy rate for 2014 was 69.7 percent, an increase of 4.4 percent over 2013.  This represents a record year for the statewide calendar year occupancy rate, exceeding the previous high of 69.0 percent in 2005. ADR, occupancy and rooms sold all increased every month year-over-year in 2014. “Thanks to the visionary leadership of Governor Rick Scott and the Florida legislature, the Florida tourism industry has grown from 82.3 million visitors in 2010 to 97.3 million in 2014,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.  “With all indicators up – taxable sales, ADR, occupancy and rooms sold – the industry is firing on all cylinders.” To view additional Florida visitor data, go the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website. Interviews with VISIT FLORIDA executive staff are available upon request. Contact Kathy Torian for media assistance: ktorian@VISITFLORIDA.org or 850-345-6494. *Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report. As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 97.3 million visitors in 2014 and employing more than 1.1 million Floridians. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA – the official tourism marketing corporation for the state of Florida – $3.20 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 12,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld...

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GOLF CHANNEL’S BIG BREAK SERIES SELECTS PGA NATIONAL AS BACKDROP FOR 23RD SEASON

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Corporate Press Releases, Industry Press Releases | Comments Off on GOLF CHANNEL’S BIG BREAK SERIES SELECTS PGA NATIONAL AS BACKDROP FOR 23RD SEASON

Premiering Monday, Feb. 2, Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL to Showcase the Newly Renovated PGA National Champion Course and the Famed ‘Bear Trap’ Melanie Collins Returns to Co-Host Alongside Tom Abbott Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL Cast to be Announced Mid-January ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2014) – Golf Channel’s popular Big Break competition series will head to South Florida for its 23rd season, featuring an all-male cast of 12 aspiring golf professionals who will encounter one of the most challenging finishing stretches of holes in all of golf: The Bear Trap. Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, premiering Monday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. ET and produced in partnership with Discover The Palm Beaches and VISIT FLORIDA, will take place at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.  The newly renovated Champion Course at PGA National, home to the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic and the famed Bear Trap, will headline the roster of courses hosting the series.  The ultimate winner will receive an exemption to a 2015 PGA TOUR event, along with cash and other prizes.  The cast will be announced in mid-January. “Big Break is a cornerstone of our original productions franchises, and we are excited to host the series at PGA National Resort & Spa, which has a tremendous amount of history,” said Jay Kossoff, Golf Channel vice president of original productions and Big Break executive producer.  “Our goal is to place our competitors in pressure situations while showcasing an elite golf destination.  With The Bear Trap as the backdrop, the pressure will be even greater for our competitors trying to advance each week throughout the season.” HOST GOLF COURSES: Filmed on location in September, the series will unfold on four of PGA National’s award-winning golf courses, headlined by the famed Champion Course, which underwent a course redesign in 1990 by Hall-of-Famer and acclaimed designer Jack Nicklaus, and then went through a renovation in 2014.  Part of the renovation was a tweak to the design of No. 14 – the prelude to The Bear Trap (Holes 15-17) – which included bringing the green closer to the water on the right. “The Champion Course is a thinking person’s golf course,” Nicklaus said.  “You’ve got to figure out whether to attack the greens or whether to be conservative.  That, to me, is what golf is all about.  I’ve always put a premium on accuracy, rather than power.  This golf course definitely has those elements, and I look forward to seeing those elements come into play.” The Champion – Home to The Honda Classic, the Champion Course was first redesigned in 1990 and renovated further in 2014.  It features The Bear Trap – a demanding stretch of holes (15-17) that is widely known as one of the toughest in golf. The Palmer – Named after its designer, Arnold Palmer, the course is a subtle nod to the game’s Scottish roots and is a true risk / reward layout. Its 18th is one of the most scenic and picturesque par 5s on the property. The Fazio – A complete renovation of the resort’s Haig Course, The Fazio was modernized by Tom Fazio II and is a splendid shot maker’s design. The Squire – Named after Gene Sarazen and designed by George and Tom Fazio, The Squire...

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Gov. Scott: Florida Tourism on Pace for Another Record Year

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Gov. Scott: Florida Tourism on Pace for Another Record Year

Tourism-Related Employment Has Lead the State in Growth for 52 Straight Months TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (August 19, 2014) – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that according to VISIT FLORIDA’s preliminary estimates* 24.0 million visitors came to Florida in the second quarter of 2014 (April-June), an increase of 3.0 percent over the same period in 2013. This represents the largest second quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 23.3 million in Q2 2013. Visitor spending is up 7.4 percent in January through May 2014, at $35.7 billion, which is more than the same time period in 2013. Governor Scott said, “A thriving tourism industry is vital to growing jobs, and today’s report that Florida has experienced another record quarter for visitation is great news for Florida families. This year we invested $74 million into VISIT FLORIDA, and set a goal to have 100 million visitors visit the Sunshine State, which we are well on our way to reaching. Together we are creating an opportunity economy, and continuing to grow more jobs for Floridians with more than 1.1 million individuals employed in the growing tourism industry.” The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q2 2014 was also a record high, with 1,151,400 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – an increase of 3.9 percent or 43,600 jobs from the same period in 2013. VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 2.8 million overseas visitors and 1.0 million Canadians came to Florida in Q2 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 6.2 percent and 1.6 percent increases over Q2 2013 respectively. Estimates reflect a 2.6 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in Q2 2014 and show that Floridians took just over 3.7 million in-state pleasure trips during the second quarter. “Experiencing the largest second quarter for tourism in our state’s history, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, proves that this industry continues to be a vital force in Florida,” said Andrew Hertz, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “These records also emphasize the power of tourism as a way to sustain Florida’s economic growth.” Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida grew year-over-year for January-May 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.4 percent increase over the same period in 2013. Bed Tax also increased year-over-year for January-April 2014 (last reported month), representing a 10.1 percent jump over the same period last year. Other indicators were up for Q2 2014 as well, with the average daily room rate (ADR) rising 7.0 percent, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increasing 4.8 percent and the demand in rooms sold growing 5.5 percent compared to quarter two 2013. “Florida tourism is maintaining strong momentum with all indicators up across the board for the quarter,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “With occupancy, rooms sold, average daily room rate and tourism and recreation taxable sales all continuing to climb, we are well on our way to making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.” To view additional Florida visitor data, please go to the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website. *Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report. ### For additional information, contact...

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VISIT FLORIDA Announces 2014-2015 Tourism Industry Leadership

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on VISIT FLORIDA Announces 2014-2015 Tourism Industry Leadership

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 10, 2014) – With the start of its new fiscal year on July 1, VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – ushers in new leadership to serve on its Executive Committee, Board of Directors and industry committees.  More than 220 VISIT FLORIDA partners, including some of the industry’s foremost experts, have been selected to represent the tourism industry for the upcoming term. Andrew Hertz, President & General Manager of Miami Seaquarium, will take over as the new Chair of the 2014-2015 VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.  Hertz succeeds Tammy Gustafson, Senior Director of Sales Integration with Universal Orlando Resort, who served as Chair during a year in which Florida welcomed a third consecutive record number of visitors, visitor spending and tourism-related employment. “As a tireless and inspiring promoter of Florida tourism, Tammy has done a tremendous job leading the industry this past year,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “As we build on this momentum, I cannot think of a better successor than Andrew who brings years of experience and extensive travel industry knowledge to his new leadership position with VISIT FLORIDA.” The Board of Directors is the organization’s private sector governing body who, along with the members of its 11 committees, provide guidance, input and insight into the evolution of VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing programs.  The 31-member board, which is appointed by Enterprise Florida in conjunction with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, is comprised of representatives from key sectors of the tourism industry and is balanced geographically throughout the state.  The nine-member Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, made up of the officers and standing committee chairs, serves as the highest level of VISIT FLORIDA’s volunteer leadership. “Throughout its history, VISIT FLORIDA’s greatest strength has been that it is industry driven,” said Tammy Gustafson, out-going Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “The best and brightest minds in the Florida tourism industry have helped guide VISIT FLORIDA to make it the pre-eminent model of how the private and public sectors can successfully work together in support of destination marketing.” During his upcoming year as Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, Hertz has indicated he will focus on promoting the strength of the state’s No. 1 industry by generating increased opportunities for leadership to address key audiences. “I’m honored to be able to serve the tourism industry as its Chair.  With so much breadth and depth of experience on the Executive Committee, Board and committees, I look forward to tapping into that collective expertise to expand VISIT FLORIDA’s presence in the state,” said Hertz. “Coming off of three record setting years, the future of Florida tourism looks bright – and with the additional funding provided by Governor Scott and the Legislature for tourism marketing, we are in a great position to have Florida become the No. 1 travel destination in the world.” To view a sortable list of all Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Committee members, please click here.  To read brief bios on each of the nine Executive Committee members, please click here.  For additional information or for assistance with setting up interviews with any of VISIT FLORIDA’s volunteer leadership, please contact Kathy Torian at 850-205-3865or ktorian@VISITFLORIDA.org....

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Gov. Scott: Another Record Quarter for Tourism

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Gov. Scott: Another Record Quarter for Tourism

TAMPA, Fla. (May 15, 2014) – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that according to preliminary estimates* released today by VISIT FLORIDA, 26.7 million visitors came to Florida in the first quarter of 2014 (January-March), an increase of 2.0 percent over the same period in 2013.  This represents the largest quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 26.2 million in Q1 2013.  The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q1 2014 was also a record high, with 1,125,300 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 3.5 percent from the same period in 2013. Governor Scott said, “Today’s news that we have another record quarter for visitation is great for Florida families.  A growing tourism industry is vital to growing jobs in Florida, and creating an opportunity economy.  We are off to a great start to reaching our goal of 100 million visitors to Florida this year.” VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.5 million Canadians came to Florida in Q1 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent increases over Q1 2013 respectively.  Estimates reflect a 2.0 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in Q1 2014 and show that Floridians took just over 4.2 million in-state pleasure trips during the first quarter. “Experiencing the largest quarter for tourism in our state’s history, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, proves that tourism continues to be a vital force in Florida,” said Tammy Gustafson, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.  “These records also emphasize the power of tourism as a way to sustain Florida’s economic growth.” Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased year-over-year for January and February 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.2 percent increase over the same period in 2013.  For Q1 2014, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.1 percent, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 2.7 percent and the demand in rooms sold grew 3.0 percent compared to quarter one 2013. “Florida tourism is maintaining strong momentum with all indicators up across the board for the quarter,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.  “With occupancy, rooms sold, average daily room rate and tourism and recreation taxable sales all continuing to climb, we are well on our way to making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.” To view additional Florida visitor data, please go to the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website. *Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report. Here are the reactions of key industry leaders to today’s record announcement: Bill Talbert, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors Executive Committee and President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau “As a founding partner of VISIT FLORIDA, we are thrilled with the tourism records being set by the State of Florida.  Tourism is Miami’s #1 industry contributing to the economic well-being of the community with record tourism and jobs.  We look forward to expanding our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA to ensure the continued growth at record levels of our tourism industry.” Virginia Haley, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Visitor Services Committee and President of Visit Sarasota...

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Governor Rick Scott Announces 2013 Another Record Year for Florida Tourism

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Governor Rick Scott Announces 2013 Another Record Year for Florida Tourism

Governor Rick Scott today announced that according to preliminary estimates* released today by VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – 94.7 million visitors came to Florida in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2012.  This represents a record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 91.5 million in 2012.  The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2013 was also a record high, with 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 2.9 percent from 2012. Governor Rick Scott said, “With nearly 95 million visitors traveling to the Sunshine State, today’s news that Florida broke another record year for tourism is a victory for Florida families.  Every 85 visitors to Florida equals one job in our state – and it is clear that more visitors to the Sunshine State means more jobs for Florida families. That is why my ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget,’ commits $100 million to VISIT FLORIDA so we can grow more job opportunities for Florida families.” “We are excited for our future in Florida and we are glad to be able to bring new jobs and economic growth to our community and to the state,” said Bill Davis, president of Universal Orlando Resort.  “We are also grateful for the strong public-private partnership that continues to help our industry grow.” Governor Scott made today’s announcement at the Universal Orlando Resort where they will be creating nearly 3,500 new jobs this year across their destination.  Universal Orlando is currently constructing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, adding a new on-site hotel and expanding their CityWalk Entertainment complex. VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 11.5 million overseas visitors and 3.7 million Canadians came to Florida in 2013, both of which are record highs and represent 11.1 percent and 4.1 percent increases over 2012 respectively.  Estimates reflect a 2.5 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in 2013 and show that Floridians took a record total of 20.1 million in-state pleasure trips. “Three years of record-breaking visitation and a record number of tourism-related jobs proves that tourism continues to be a vital force in Florida,” said Tammy Gustafson, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.  “It also proves that our industry is directly tied to Florida’s economic growth.  This means we cannot let go of our effort to continuously advance Florida tourism.” Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2013 (last reported month), representing a 5.9 percent increase over the same period in 2012.  For 2013, the average daily room (ADR) rate rose 4.6 percent and the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 3.5 percent compared to 2012.  Both ADR and occupancy increased every month year-over-year in 2013. Preliminary data from Smith Travel Research indicates Florida tourism has been steadily regaining market share since January 2013, outpacing the rest of the U.S. by 1.3 percentage points.  According to the same study, room revenue in Florida for 2013 was up 8.2 percent compared to 2012, while the U.S. is only up 6.2 percent. “We are incredibly encouraged to see domestic, Canadian and overseas visitor numbers all peaking together in 2013, and look forward to continuing to build on this momentum in 2014 to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the...

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Governor Scott Recommends Historic $100 Million in Funding for VISIT FLORIDA

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Corporate Press Releases | Comments Off on Governor Scott Recommends Historic $100 Million in Funding for VISIT FLORIDA

“It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” Allocates $100 Million for Tourism Marketing Efforts in 2014-2015  ORLANDO, Fla. (January 10, 2014) – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced at Orlando International Airport that VISIT FLORIDA will receive $100 million in funding in the 2014-15 “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.”  With this funding, VISIT FLORIDA will be able to market the Sunshine State year round to domestic visitors, increase marketing to international visitors, and assist communities in attracting direct international air service to Florida. Governor Scott said, “Last year, we secured more than $63 million in our ‘Florida Families First Budget,’ for VISIT FLORIDA and we made record gains in tourism. We are on track for another record year, and we hope to build on this incredible momentum and make the Sunshine State the number one travel destination in the world.  To do that, we are going to recommend an historic $100 million in our ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ this year.  Because every 85 visitors to our state supports one Florida job, a growing tourism industry equates to more jobs for Florida families and a stronger economy.” “On behalf of the statewide tourism industry, I am grateful to Governor Scott for his recognition of VISIT FLORIDA’s ability to provide a significant return on the state’s investment in tourism marketing.  The Governor’s visionary leadership puts us in a position to make 2014-15 another record year for visitation and fuels the momentum that has Florida on track to become the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. Here are the reactions of key industry leaders to today’s historic announcement: Tammy Gustafson, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Director of National & Group Sales with Universal Orlando Resort “Florida tourism experienced record years in 2011 and 2012 and, when the numbers come out in a few weeks, we fully expect that 2013 will top it. With the additional funding for tourism marketing that Governor Scott has proposed, VISIT FLORIDA and its nearly 12,000 industry partners across the state will be able to continue that strong momentum to further increase visitation.” Andrew Hertz, Vice Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and General Manager of the Miami Seaquarium “Given today’s global travel marketplace, VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing budget must be able to compete with those of other destinations and even entire countries.  Governor Scott clearly recognizes that every dollar the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA will be leveraged by our tourism industry partners who participate in destination marketing programs that provide a 2-1 return on investment.” Ed Fouché, Two-Time Past VISIT FLORIDA Chair and Senior Vice President of Travel Industry Sales for Disney Destinations “This record funding is crucial to providing the tourism industry with the resources we need to share Florida’s great tourism destinations with visitors around the world. With the strength of Florida’s image as a family-friendly destination and the continued support of Governor Scott, we are well on the way to achieving our shared goal of welcoming more than 100 million visitors next year.” Terry Prather, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Finance Committee and President of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment “Governor Scott’s recommendation to increase VISIT FLORIDA funding is a wise investment in Florida’s economic growth. VISIT FLORIDA advertising...

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