Connect with us

Emails & Opinions

Carol Dover: VISIT FLORIDA must be fully funded

Our small towns and cities benefit greatly from the VISIT FLORIDA marketing assistance.

For more than 22 years, VISIT FLORIDA has operated as the marketing organization for the Sunshine State, working to attract visitors from around the United States as well as travelers from other countries.

Their incredible efforts have, time and again, proven to effectively draw in crowds of people from around the world. Year after year, we continue to see record-setting numbers of tourists coming to Florida for our beautiful beaches, awesome attractions and endless opportunities for adventure.

In fact, last year, thanks to the work of the VISIT FLORIDA team, we had yet another record of 126.1 million visitors. These guests have a tremendous impact on the state’s economy and provide jobs for 1.4 million Floridians who work in hospitality.

VISIT FLORIDA’s carefully executed marketing plan for the state works well, and we see that in the steady increase in annual visitors.

But there is another critical function of VISIT FLORIDA that perhaps many don’t know.

VISIT FLORIDA works hand-in-hand with local businesses and tourism councils to help communities market themselves with a variety of grant programs that range from advertising matches to disaster recovery marketing.

Because of VISIT FLORIDA efforts and grants, bed taxes in rural counties have grown nearly 50 percent faster than those in urban counties since 2012.

Our small towns and cities benefit greatly from the VISIT FLORIDA marketing assistance, and we must continue to support them by fully funding VISIT FLORIDA. However, the organization is slated to sunset Oct. 1 of this year unless our legislators choose to act.

Gov. Ron DeSantis recognizes the value of VISIT FLORIDA and has recommended it be funded at its current level of $76 million, and our Senators agree.

This investment is a wise one as the Legislature’s Chief Economist Amy Baker has noted that VISIT FLORIDA returns $2.51 to taxpayers for every $1 spent. But the Florida House has a different philosophy about the best use of our tax dollars, and HB 6031 is not moving.

I strongly urge the House to give this bill and VISIT FLORIDA a fair shot by placing the bill on the agenda.

Floridians deserve the opportunity to hear the bill, and their representatives should have the chance to officially weigh in on this issue.

___

Carol Dover is president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Written By

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.