Airports offer VISIT FLORIDA lift in support

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Florida Airports Council penned letters to lawmakers supporting full funding.

Florida’s airports wants to keep VISIT FLORIDA as a co-pilot for marketing Florida as a destination.

Lisa Waters, president and CEO for the Florida Airports Council, said the Legislature should fully fund the agency.

She penned a letter to Senate President Bill Galvano thanking the chamber for “continued strong support” of VISIT FLORIDA. In another letter to Speaker of the House Jose Oliva, she asks the House follow suit.

The Capitolist first reported on the letters.

“Florida’s more than 120 airports recognize that our state’s economy is flourishing, thanks in no small part to our innumerable assets as a tourism destination,” Waters wrote to Oliva.

“But the memories of the recent recession are still fresh, and we recognize that tourism is a fragile industry. We therefore need to do everything possible to support this vital economic engine, which supports some 1.4 million jobs in our State.”

The House right now plans to fund VISIT FLORIDA only until Oct. 1 with about $19 million, then expects the agency to sunset. The Senate, meanwhile, has budgeted $50 million.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget called for the agency to receive $76 million.

Neither chamber right now plans to meet that full request.

But Waters’ letter to Galvano praised senators for planning for the state agency’s continued existence into the next fiscal year.

“VISIT FLORIDA does an excellent job spreading the good word about our wonderful state and marketing it to potential tourists both near and far,” Waters wrote Galvano.“We are grateful that the Senate, under your leadership, supports its mission and budget.

“We hope you and your colleagues will remain steadfast in your dealings with the House, and in the end the next state budget includes full funding for VISIT FLORIDA and the important work it does.”

The letter to Oliva, meanwhile, stresses the importance not only of budgeting dollars now but of keeping VISIT FLORIDA alive.

“The Florida Airports Council strongly encourages you and your fellow legislators to reauthorize and fund this important economic driver to the fullest level possible,” she writes.


Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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