FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2017
Contact: Jennifer Fennell, 850-222-3767
STATEMENT: Regarding Governor Scott’s $100M Tourism Spending Proposal
Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations
Here’s what representatives of Florida’s tourism industry are saying about Governor’s Scott’s proposal to increase tourism spending to $100 million:
“As a small business owner reliant on state and local tourism promotion – and one of the 19.89 million Floridians who depend on the $11.3 billion in taxes our visitors contribute to our economy – I am extremely grateful to Governor Scott for encouraging an increase in VISIT FLORIDA funding. Most tourism businesses are small businesses and don’t always have the resources necessary to make our voices heard in such a competitive industry. Fortunately, our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA enables us to make a name for ourselves in target markets across the globe. An increase in marketing funding will continue to grow the Sunshine State’s vibrant tourism industry and many more hardworking Floridians will be employed as a result. Every 76 visitors to our state employs one person in the tourism industry, so increasing visitation is key to economic growth and record-breaking employment numbers.” – Mark McHugh, President and CEO of Gatorland in Orlando
“Along with thousands of other Floridians employed in the tourism industry, I wholeheartedly thank Governor Scott for fighting for our state’s number one industry with his VISIT FLORIDA budget proposal. A budget of $100 million keeps Florida on the same playing field as beach-brimmed competitors such as California, and the increased funding means the Sunshine State will maintain its status as a top destination. I’m sure the 49 other states in our country and many international destinations would love to see Florida to reduce its tourism budget, and their desire to capture our market share is precisely why this increase is needed. In the last fiscal year alone, Florida’s tourism industry generated $108.8 billion in travel-related revenue for our state. Imagine what VISIT FLORIDA can help us achieve in years to come should Governor Scott’s budget recommendation be accepted.” – Heidi Dennis, General Manager of Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale.
“Over my 33 years in the tourism industry, I have witnessed the return on investment tourism promotion has yielded for Florida. Governor Scott truly understands these economic principles and I appreciate his unwavering support of the 1.4 million Floridians employed by our industry. Tourism promotion puts paychecks in the hands of industry employees, and it also keeps money in every Floridian’s pocket. The revenue generated by tourists helps pay for critical government services, such as education, public safety and infrastructure maintenance, so Florida doesn’t have to impose a state income tax on its residents to cover these costs. Today’s announcement by Governor Scott to increase tourism marketing funding not only demonstrates his commitment to the tourism industry, but to the financial wellbeing of all Florida families.” – Clark Hill, General Manager of the Hilton Naples in Naples