Visit Florida

The St. Johns River
FL Division of Tourism via Florida Memory / Florida Memory

Tourism is Florida’s largest industry yet the agency that markets the state could soon be going away. As lawmakers hammer out details of a roughly $90 billion  spending plan, Visit Florida could find itself left out.

Visit Florida's budget has grown since 2004. So has the state's tourism numbers.
Visit Florida

Florida’s tourism and marketing agency could be going away if the Florida House has its way. It comes as tourism remains the state’s dominant industry, and the state continues recovering from toxic algae blooms and hurricanes. 

Ricardo's Photography / Flickr

For years the Florida legislature has funded Visit Florida – a group charged with advertising and marketing tourism for the state. It works overseas, and around the country and also keeps track of the state’s tourism number. Now the agency is set to dissolve in October unless the legislature decides to keep it going.

But both chambers are at odds on whether it’s needed.

DeSantis Names New Chiefs At State Health, Tourism Agencies

Jan 4, 2019

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis on Friday named an ardent opponent of Medicaid expansion to lead the state Agency for Health Care Administration and backed former state Sen. Dana Young to lead the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida.

Visit Florida

Executives with Visit Florida must choose a new CEO after Ken Lawson was chosen to head the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Committee members are debating what type of person should have that job.

On top of red tide and blue green algae, Hurricane Michael is compounding to fears in Florida’s tourism industry.

Thinkspot, Inc.

Rebuilding Florida’s brand won’t be easy in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma’s state-engulfing radar signature and widespread damage will be a hard image to shake, but tourism experts say Florida’s biggest industry will rebound.

Jenn Greiving via Wikimedia Commons

After a bare knuckle legislative fight, lawmakers are revisiting their decision to slash funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.  The governor sees the agencies as vital to growing the state economy.

Florida Channel

The Florida Legislature may have sent an $82.4 billion dollar budget to Governor Rick Scott Monday, but Scott is still indicating he may veto it.

Visit Florida

Governor Rick Scott is catching some serious heat for shooting a Visit Florida ad in a Washington, D.C. studio.

Visit Florida

Visit Florida is fighting for economic survival the only way it knows how, through a marketing campaign.

Governor Rick Scott.
The Florida Channel

Florida Governor Rick Scott is now calling for $100 million dollars in tourism money—almost 25 percent more than he outlined in his spending plan early this year.  

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is widely believed to be eyeing a U.S. Senate seat, is taking to the airwaves next week to defend corporate incentives.

Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) flanked by Rep. Jose Oliva and Speaker Richard Corcoran.
Nick Evans

House Speaker Richard Corcoran got his bills, and he got enough Democrats to build a veto-proof majority.  The lower chamber has approved legislation to scale back Visit Florida and eliminate Enterprise Florida.

Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast)
Mark Foley via FL House website

It appears a one million dollar contract could cost Visit Florida much, much more.  The House is moving forward with a plan to cut the agency’s funding by two thirds and establish more stringent oversight.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O Lakes) flanked by top lieutenant Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Miami)
Nick Evans

The Florida legislative session has begun, which means it’s time to get serious about the state’s budget.  But the past few months of prologue have done little to bring the parties together.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran
Richard Corcoran via twitter / https://twitter.com/richardcorcoran

One of the big debates taking shape this legislative session is about state involvement in economic development. The capitol’s powerbrokers are picking sides in the battle, which is threatening to derail session before it even begins.

Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard Co.) reading his letter to Governor Rick Scott.
Nick Evans

Florida’s Governor and House leaders are at each other’s throats over funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.  Murmurs are growing louder lawmakers will need a special session to agree on a budget.  Both sides are digging in, and the battle lines are becoming clear in a recent letter.

Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast)
Mark Foley via FL House website

The Florida House appears ready to take its incentives fight with Governor Rick Scott into the legislative session.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott
State of Florida, Meredyth Hope Hall

Florida Governor Rick Scott is crisscrossing the state calling out lawmakers by name for voting to gut two state agencies.

Standing room only as House lawmakers discuss a proposal to eliminate Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.
Nick Evans

The Florida House is tightening the noose around two state agencies.  The idea faces high hurdles in the Senate and the governor’s mansion, but the fight sets the stage for big cuts as lawmakers develop spending plans.

MGN Online

Despite a predicted slow down during the cooler winter season, the Zika virus continues plaguing Florida.

Destin
Phil Horton via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/plh9026/

A philosophical debate is taking shape in the Florida Capitol about what role the government should play in the economy. How lawmakers come down on economic development programs could have real consequences for Governor Rick Scott’s top priorities.

Visit Florida / http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

The state’s publicly funded tourism agency has a new director. The leadership change comes as state lawmakers begin debating whether Visit Florida, and similar agencies, should exist at all.

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