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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.13.20

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Destinations Florida is sending Valentine’s Day cards to lawmakers warning against eliminating VISIT FLORIDA.

According to the group, which represents the state’s destination marketing organizations, says without the efforts of VISIT FLORIDA, tourism competitors can poach visitors from the Sunshine State

Among the cards are “love letters” from California and Arizona, two markets that would most likely benefit from drops in Florida tourism.

“Tourism is an increasingly competitive global industry. We’re not only competing with other states, but also with destinations all around the world. Potential visitors to our state have many options from which to choose — many of those destinations can also boast year-round sun and beaches, and many of them are far more affordable, especially for international travelers,” said Destinations Florida Executive Director Robert Skrob. “Our competing destinations would love nothing more than to see VISIT FLORIDA eliminated, which would clear a path for them to steal visitors currently looking at Florida as their vacation destination.”

In a recent report, Destination Promotion: Empowering Florida’s Growth, Destinations Florida highlighted case studies — such as Colorado and the state of Washington — illustrating the disastrous effects of eliminating state tourism promotion.

Destination Florida believes the state needs this visitor-generated sales tax revenue to maintain its current tax structure, keep taxes low, and continue offering existing programs and services. A study by the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR), found the most recent sales tax forecast relies heavily on strong tourism growth, and any drop would put Florida’s economic outlook in jeopardy.

VISIT FLORIDA’s most valuable efforts are effectively promoting the Florida brand both nationally and internationally, as well as supporting the state’s small and medium-sized markets.

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