VISIT FLORIDA touts industry rebound, marketing efforts over the year

Pensacola - Family in innertubes at Pensacola Beach - 2020 (credit- Visit Pensacola) (Full Marketing Rights)
The marketing agency targeted states with brutal winters and heavy-handed COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Florida’s tourism marketing agency is touting its efforts to salvage the tourism industry this year after the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic crippled theme parks and entertainment venues alike. 

In a press release, VISIT FLORIDA cited a series of campaigns deployed over the year to rebuild the state’s tourism and travel industry, among the largest pillars of the state’s overall economy. 

Among other initiatives, the state’s marketing arm broadcasted ads in states with heavy-handed COVID-19 public health measures, including the states of California and Washington. 

Those ads, the agency says, sought travelers “desperate for sunshine and freedom,” and garnered a $311:1 return.

“Florida tourism’s recovery grew by leaps and bounds in 2021 as a result of VISIT FLORIDA’s highly successful marketing campaigns,” said VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young.

VISIT FLORIDA also created and produced a Florida docuseries alongside the Weather Network and Air Canada. Dubbed “Wanderlust,” the documentary series aired during the winter in Canada as residents found themselves locked indoors. 

“Looking ahead to 2022, VISIT FLORIDA will only be hitting the accelerator as we continue to drive results for every Florida job, business, and taxpayer,” the agency added.

Those campaigns and others show a sizable return on investment for taxpayers, the agency says. 

Florida’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research calculated that for every $1 invested in VISIT FLORIDA, $3.27 is returned to taxpayers.

VISIT FLORIDA also worked to attract attract tourists as the nation reopened its border to international travel. The agency deployed a marketing campaign throughout Latin America (Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil), the U.K., Germany, and Canada. 

The agency also sent a delegation to Colombia to strike a travel relationship with the nation, marking the first trip of its kind.

“Governor DeSantis’ support and leadership have been crucial for these gains, and we sincerely appreciate everything he does on behalf of our tourism economy,” Young added. 

Indeed, tourism in on the up and up in Florida. In the second quarter of this year, Florida welcomed 31.7 million travelers to the state, marking a more than 220% increase from 2020.

In the third quarter of 2021, meanwhile, Florida welcomed 32.5 million travelers, marking the first time overall visitation surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

VISIT FLORIDA is rallying around two proposals ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session. Among them is a bill that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s lease on life by eight years to 2031.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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