Governor Scott announced on Jan. 31, his proposed budget for 2013-2014. The Governor recommended that VISIT FLORIDA receive $75 million in public funding to support statewide tourism marketing efforts for the coming year. The recommendation represents a 39 percent increase over last year’s allocation.
“On behalf of the statewide tourism industry, I thank Governor Scott for his confidence in VISIT FLORIDA and for his recognition that an increased investment in the state’s No. 1 industry will have an immediate impact on the Florida economy and will create new jobs for Floridians,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.
Here are the reactions of several of the industry’s key leaders:
Glenn Hastings, Chairman of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council
“Florida tourism experienced a record year in 2011 and, when the numbers come out in a few weeks, we fully expect that 2012 will top it. With the additional funding for tourism marketing that Governor Scott has proposed, VISIT FLORIDA and its nearly 12,000 industry partners across the state will be able to continue that strong momentum to further increase visitation.”
Tammy Gustafson, Vice Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Director of National & Group Sales with Universal Orlando Resort
“Every dollar the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA is matched nearly 2-to-1 in private sector investment by our tourism industry partners. The destination marketing programs VISIT FLORIDA develops give Florida tourism a distinct advantage in today’s highly competitive international travel marketplace.”
Terry Prather, President of SeaWorld Orlando
“Governor Scott’s recommendation to increase VISIT FLORIDA funding is a wise investment in Florida’s economic growth. VISIT FLORIDA advertising efforts have proven to deliver an immediate return for the state, generating $258 in new spending and $15 in new sales taxes for every $1 invested.”
Ed Fouché, Senior Vice President of Travel Industry Sales for Disney Destinations
“The increased funding for VISIT FLORIDA that Governor Scott has requested will be a catalyst for generating new visitors, increase visitor spending and create jobs for Floridians. Travel industry jobs not only provide workers with family-sustaining wages, but they also offer valuable skills that develop into rewarding careers.”
Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
“It’s simple math. Every 85 visitors to the state support one Florida job. I applaud Governor Scott’s recommendation of increased funding for VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts which will strengthen the Florida economy and create jobs by encouraging more tourism in our great state.”
Andrew Hertz, General Manager of the Miami Seaquarium
“The hospitality industry has led the state in job creation for 20 straight months and now employs over one million Floridians. If the legislature passes a budget that increases tourism marketing funding at the level Governor Scott has recommended, VISIT FLORIDA will be able to attract more visitors and provide stable jobs that improve the income of nearly one in nine working Floridians. That truly puts Florida’s families first.”