Visit Florida

Governor Rick Scott has not yet taken action on the new budget and he fate of Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency, remains in limbo.

For every dollar Visit Florida spends, the state receives $3.20 in return, according to the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. In 2015, the latest available year, that translated to $109 billion in tourist spending; $11.3 billion in tax revenue, and 1.4 million tourism-related jobs in 2015. 

Visit Pensacola is hoping to build upon a successful winter tourist season as the calendar moves toward spring.

However, some flak could be coming out of Tallahassee.

Visit Pensacola President Steve Hayes says one of the key has been the agency’s expansion of digital advertising and analytics that target specific demographics, which he calls “almost Big Brother-ish.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the Florida Legislature’s attempt to eliminate Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.

A battle is brewing in Tallahassee as state lawmakers look to dismantle both Visit Florida, which supports tourism efforts in the state, and Enterprise Florida, which offers economic incentives to businesses in Florida. In a hearing this week, the committee responsible voted in a split decision to move forward with a bill to eliminate much of the state’s economic incentives.
 

This is National Travel and Tourism week, with Pensacola joining other U.S. cities in celebrating the impact visitors have on local economies.

On Thursday, Visit Pensacola will unveil its five-year strategic plan – “Destination 2020” – which is aimed at revving up the area’s tourism industry. Visit Pensacola President Steve Hayes says they brought in some speakers, and heard from local tourism officials, elected officials, business owners and residents.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses revised tourism figures from the state of Florida, a slowing U.S economy to start 2015, and job prospects for the graduating Class of 2015.

Photo via Flickr// Matt Deavenport / https://flic.kr/p/p2yo5f

If you wondered why you spent a little more time in line at attractions last year, or it took a bit longer to find an unoccupied spot at the beach, the numbers are in to explain.

Almost 4%  more people came to the Sunshine State in 2014 over the previous year, according to figures released by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm. That’s inching closer to an annual goal sought by Gov. Rick Scott.

“This is a great day: 97.3 million tourists,” said the Governor. “I look forward to passing 100 million tourists.”

Visit Pensacola recently kicked off “Destination 2020” -- a four-month strategic planning course, on the future of local tourism.

More than 150 people attended the opening session, the first of a half-dozen community-based meetings in Pensacola, Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach this month and in February.