“VISIT FLORIDA Budget Cuts Could Lead to Job Loss in Florida”
WEAR (ABC) – Mobile, AL
May 24, 2017
To view the clip, click HERE.
Legislative cuts to tourism marketing jeopardizes growth
Governor Rick Scott today announced that Florida set another record by welcoming the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history with 31.1 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017. This represents a 2.5 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Even though Florida’s tourism industry is booming, the Florida Legislature cut VISIT FLORIDA’s budget by 67 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, putting Florida’s incredible growth and the many families and businesses that rely on the tourism industry at risk.
Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce today that Florida set another record by welcoming 31.1 million visitors during the first quarter of 2017, the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history. This historic number would not have been possible without the significant funding we have invested in VISIT FLORIDA over the past few years. It is disappointing that the Florida Legislature made a shortsighted decision to jeopardize the growth of our tourism industry and the 1.4 million jobs that rely on it by cutting funding to VISIT FLORIDA by 67 percent. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results. Instead of decimating funding to VISIT FLORIDA, we should be investing in tourism marketing so we can continue to bring record visitors to our state.”
VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 27.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q1 2017, reflecting a 3.2 percent increase over the same period last year. Estimates also show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State in January-March 2017. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q1 2017 increased 1.6 percent over the same period the previous year, with a record 22.7 million enplaned passengers. For Q1 2017, the number of rooms sold grew by 2.2 percent and the hotel occupancy rate rose 0.7 percent compared to Q1 2016.
Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “VISIT FLORIDA will continue to focus on the task at hand, which is successfully marketing small, medium and large communities so the tourism industry can continue to create jobs. Because the Legislature decided to inadequately fund VISIT FLORIDA, our organization is going to have to make tough decisions in the coming weeks and will not be able to compete with destinations like California and Texas. We will strive every day so Florida does not become another case study like other states who lost billions of dollars in revenue due to cutting tourism marketing dollars.”
To view additional Florida visitor data, go the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website.
*Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report.
Statement by Gil Langley, Chairman of Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations regarding the 2017 legislative session
“Along with the 1.4 million Floridians employed by the tourism industry, I am extremely disappointed in the outcome of the 2017 Legislative Session. A $25 million budget for tourism marketing, coupled with a wealth of bureaucratic red tape, hinders VISIT FLORIDA’s ability to do its job. With only $25 million dedicated to promoting our state, there’s no way Florida can stay on the same playing field as states like California. Not to mention, VISIT FLORIDA’s efforts are what keeps tourists from flying over Florida to Mexico, the Bahamas and now Cuba.
Lawmakers in Tallahassee neglected to consider the facts – state and local tourism promotion is the only reason Florida has been able to maintain its status as a top destination in the increasingly competitive industry. Thanks to tourism, Florida brought in $108.8 billion in tourism-related spending in the last fiscal year. Unfortunately, the Sunshine State’s future does not look as bright. With a 5 percent tourism downturn, our state will lose more than $324 million in sales tax revenue and 70,000 jobs. Furthermore, the funding reduction will have a disproportionate impact on small rural counties throughout the state – without the resources to market themselves, many of Florida’s hidden gems will experience economic harm.
Other states like Colorado, Washington and Pennsylvania serve as a warning of what’s to come. We’ve seen this same scenario play out in other states, and the end result is always the same: state revenue goes down, people lose their jobs and that state’s market share goes down.
Although a 67 percent funding reduction and a new stringent structure are enormous setbacks for our industry, we will continue to advocate for tourism promotion in the months leading up to the 2018 Session. As Legislators watch while jobs are lost, small businesses are harmed, and tax revenue is diminished, I hope they will rectify their mistake next year.”
Governor Rick Scott today announced the “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tour where he will visit 10 cities to encourage Floridians to contact members of the Florida Legislature and urge them to invest in key priorities for Florida’s future. The Florida Legislature is in their final days of the 2017 legislative session, and at this time, budget proposals from the Legislature include:
- Kills funding for Enterprise Florida which helps to diversify the economy and create thousands of high wage jobs;
- Cuts funding for VISIT FLORIDA by 67%. VISIT FLORIDA is responsible for marketing the state and encourages people from across the world to visit the Sunshine State. Every 76 tourists to Florida equals one job and Florida’s tourism industry currently supports 1.4 million jobs; and
- Fails to include $200 million to help fix the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee. Last summer, green algae plagued Florida’s waterways in South Florida and fixing the dike will help curb problems like this and protect Florida’s waterways and environment for Florida’s future generations. President Trump has committed funding to fix this federal project and the state funding Governor Scott is calling for will help jump start the process.
Governor Rick Scott said, “The 60 day legislative session is wrapping up this week and I have been fighting the politicians in Tallahassee for three things to help Florida families – funding for tourism marketing so we can continue to bring record visitors to Florida; funding for proven economic development programs so we can continue to diversify our economy and bring more jobs to Florida; and $200 million to help fix the Dike at Lake Okeechobee so we can protect our environment for future generations. All three of these issues are tied to jobs, but unfortunately the politicians in Tallahassee still haven’t committed to funding these important priorities.
“There are still a few days left of the regular session which means that there is still time for the politicians to do the right thing and fund priorities to protect our environment and keep our economy growing. Let’s remember, the total state budget is around $83 billion and all three of these priorities I am fighting for make up less than 1 percent. However, not funding these priorities will have severe repercussions across our state and Florida could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs. Our economy is on a roll and now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. I look forward to traveling the state this week to urge Floridians to contact their legislators and tell them to fund these priorities that are critical for the future of our great state.”
The Governor will make stops Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the following cities. Details on times and locations will be announced later today.
- Palm Beach
- Panama City
- Space Coast
“Gov. Scott Discusses Local Impact of VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida”
WJHG (NBC) – Panama City, FL
April 26, 2017
To view the clip, click HERE.
Governor Rick Scott met today with members of the Florida Senate and urged the Legislature to include funding in the state budget to fix the Herbert Hoover Dike and fully fund the state’s economic incentive programs, Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA.
VISIT FLORIDA shared the following video today that features Cathy Ritter, the Director of the Colorado Tourism Office. Twenty years ago, Colorado cut their tourism marketing funding and have never been able to regain the ground that was lost.
Note: This video was produced at no cost to VISIT FLORIDA.
Click HERE to watch.
“Gov. Scott requests $100 Million for VISIT FLORIDA”
WESH-ORD (NBC) – Orlando, FL
April 18, 2017
To view the clip, click HERE.
(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) applauds today’s announcement by Florida Governor Rick Scott recommending a $24 million increase in the state’s investment in VISIT FLORIDA. This funding amount is in addition to the Governor’s $76 million recommendation and would allocate a total of $100 million for the state’s destination marketing corporation in the budget for
fiscal year 2017-2018.
“We are extremely grateful for the Governor’s continued leadership and foresight to increase the state’s investment in Florida’s tourism industry. This announcement comes at a critical time when lawmakers are proposing dramatic cuts to VISIT FLORIDA’s budget. Florida’s economy depends on visitors selecting the Sunshine State as their leading destination. By providing VISIT FLORIDA with the tools necessary to boost visitation, we’re injecting tourist spending into local businesses and promoting job creation across all sectors of the state’s economy,” said Carol Dover,
President and CEO of the FRLA.
According to the Office of Economic Demographic Research’s Return on Investment study of VISIT FLORIDA, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the state sees a $3.20 return. In 2016, Florida welcomed a record number of tourists with 112.8 million visitors to the state.
The FRLA represents and serves more than 10,000 independent and household name members across the state, including hotels, restaurants, theme parks and attractions.
“Gov. Scott Requests $100 Million for VISIT FLORIDA”
WFOX – Jacksonville, FL
April 18, 2017
To view the clip, click HERE.