Client News

Letter to the Editor: Visit Florida is crucial to Florida’s less well-known attractions

Thursday, January 16, 2020

So many small businesses and destinations in our state are treasures waiting to be discovered. Our attendance continues to grow because Visit Florida creates affordable programs that promote the places that visitors might not know about.

Put yourself in the shoes of a New Yorker. You’re aware of Disney, SeaWorld and the Florida Keys. You have seen the advertising. They are vacation legacies passed from generation to generation. It’s tough to get visitors to an area if you can’t reach them with advertising.

My grandfather was Mel Fisher, a pioneer in historical shipwreck salvage. In the 1960s, he discovered the 1715 Fleet, a fleet of sunken treasure-laden ships, which sank off our coastline, giving us the name, “Florida’s Treasure Coast.” Later, in 1985, he found the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a Spanish treasure galleon that sank off the Florida Keys during a 1622 hurricane. Bounty from the continuing exploration of that site — the richest shipwreck salvage ever – as well as the 1715 Fleet are on display at our Sebastian attraction.

The museum has been a Visit Florida partner for a couple of years now. This year, we received a marketing grant that will allow us to create our first television commercial, which, previously, we could never afford.

We have a story worth telling to the world: Florida is a nexus where cultures and history come together in our coastal waters.

The Florida Legislature should support Gov. DeSantis’ recommendation to reauthorize Visit Florida for eight years and set their operating budget at a minimum of $50 million. The legislature needs to give Visit Florida fair consideration.

If the legislature eliminates Visit Florida, our story will be silenced and small businesses and attractions like mine will suffer.

Nichole Johanson, Sebastian, is the director of Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum.

TC Palm:

« Return to News