Visit Florida in Harm’s Way as Marketing Agency
Florida’s tourism and marketing agency could be going away if the Florida House has its way. Tourism is the state’s dominant industry, and the state continues to recover from toxic algae blooms and hurricanes.
In spite of Hurricanes Michael and Irma, and the worst toxic algae bloom in a decade, Florida saw a record number of visitors last year. Besides visitors from other states, Florida also saw international tourists from Canada, the UK and Brazil. However, there were fewer visitors from Europe, South America and Asia.
“I realize members, this is the first cut at this, but like my colleague, I have some pretty serious concerns with where we are in this house budget,” said North Florida Rep. Lorrane Ausley, (D-Tallahassee).
“Allowing Visit Florida to sunset would be catastrophic to a state that counts tourism as a backbone of its economy,” said Ausley.
“Visit Florida helps us market on par with the coastal counties and grow our community and our tourism,” said Washington County’s Heather Lopez in a video produced by Visit Florida.
Governor Ron DeSantis wishes to keep Visit Florida’s funding unaffected at current levels. But neither the House nor Senate does that.
Lawmakers will soon start the process of hammering out their budget differences in varying committees. Any issues that are unresolved would go to House Speaker Jose Oliva and Senate President Bill Galvano to work out.