Visit Florida / Visit Florida

Tourism Day is bringing out the film, restaurant and museum industries, among others. State officials want to highlight their role in the states number one industry.

Every 85 visitors to the state supports one Florida job. Tourism employs more than 1.1 million Floridians.

Last year, more than 97 million people toured the state’s restaurants, museums and even film sites. President of Film Florida, Michelle Hillery says film and tourism is a perfect marriage.

Carmichael before crowd
Ricky Carmichael via VISIT FLORIDA

State officials say Florida tourism numbers are expected to set a new record for the fourth consecutive year. But to keep that kind of momentum amidst an aging population, tourism marketers are looking for innovative ways to reach millennials and international travelers.

VISIT FLORIDA CEO Will Seccombe says one attempt is a new partnership with a world-famous motocross star, Florida native Ricky Carmichael. Florida will appear as a landscape in Carmichael’s "Motocross Matchup" bike-racing video game.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Since 2009, Florida has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors to the Sunshine State, and has had record tourism numbers. A new study by a non-partisan watchdog group shows Florida may now also be on track to meeting a big milestone: attracting 100 million visitors by 2015.

Will Seccombe is the head of Florida’s tourism agency, Visit Florida. He says there’s no question in his mind that the industry is on a steady upswing—as outlined in a report by Florida TaxWatch.

The main group that helps represent and promote Florida’s biggest money-making industry is the latest to endorse Governor Rick Scott.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association made the announcement at the group’s summit Wednesday in Tampa. And, Governor Scott says he couldn’t be happier.

“Very appreciative of y’all’s endorsement. I’m going to continue to work every day to…hopefully this year, we’ll have 100 million tourists, and next year, we’ll keep growing every year over the next four and half years,” said Scott.

Ultimate Pool Party Screen Shot
The CW

The state of Florida’s official marketing corporation, VISIT FLORIDA, says it’s getting better at reaching people in the millennial generation. For the second year in a row, VISIT FLORIDA sponsored a live popular music event in Miami.

The iHeartRADIO Ultimate Pool Party was in June. It was  a who’s-who of today’s hottest music acts and was broadcast on The CW, a network with a lineup including “Vampire Diaries” and “America’s Next Top Model.” And Florida wants the attention of their audience.

On Monday, a Florida Senate panel OK’d the idea of putting money toward marketing the state as a medical tourism destination. The senator pushing the bill says advertising high-quality medical care could help Gov. Rick Scott meet his goal of attracting 100 million visitors in a year. 

Michael Newhouse, Florida tourism Brochure

The state’s tourism officials say Florida broke records in 2013 in nearly every tourism category. The group is already setting lofty goals for this year.

Preliminary numbers show the state hosted about 95-million visitors in 2013. Governor Rick Scott says he wants to see that number keep growing and he’s requesting $100-million in the next budget to help make it happen. Visit Florida Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps says he thinks it can be done.

Tourism is still Florida’s number one industry with places like Disney World a crowd favorite. But Visit Florida CEO Will Seacombe says some other spots are attracting more attention these days:

“We’re doing a much better job of promoting a lot of 'off the beaten track’ opportunities to explore the original Florida. And a lot of that, in a large part this year, is due to the platform Of Viva Florida, and the 500 year anniversary of when Juan Ponce de Leon first landed", he said.

Florida's Tourism Is Up, Unemployment Is Down

May 17, 2013

Tourism has close to $70 billion in economic impact on the state of Florida and in the last two years, the Sunshine State has broken tourism records. Now, the state’s visitors have hit an all-time high for the first quarter of 2013.

“For the month of April Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2 percent which puts us once again, below the national average.”

State Officials Get The Party Pumping For Fla. 500th Birthday

Apr 1, 2013
Thomas Andrew Gustafson

Florida’s five-hundredth birthday party is a yearlong event and the in first week of April the celebration is hitting a high note. Starting Monday, Viva 500 Week is bringing with special events and one very large ship across the state.

BAM! Florida Tourism Group Banking On Emeril's Star Power

Jan 11, 2013
Cooking Channel

A new TV show hosted by one of the biggest celebrity chefs should bring tourists to the Sunshine State. At least that’s what Florida’s official tourism marketing company is hoping, as it’s financing the show “Emeril’s Florida.”

Florida tourism promoter VISIT FLORIDA is hoping to kick it up a few notches with the help one of the world’s most recognizable chefs.

This week, Visit Florida is holding its annual tourism industry convention in Orlando. Organizers say, this year’s convention is more upbeat than in years past as the state is seeing an uptick in tourism.

More than 750 people who work in the tourism industry will be in Orlando for the conference, which kicks off on Wednesday. Eileen Forrow, who is the vice president of sales and marketing for Visit Florida, says Florida’s tourism is picking up the pace nicely after a couple of sluggish years.

While many parts of Florida’s economy remain somewhat sluggish, there’s one area that’s going great guns.  Tom Flanigan reports it’s the state’s number one industry – tourism – and things are expected to keep getting better.

Despite the worldwide economic slowdown, political uncertainties, terrorist fears and almost every other negative you can think of, U-S Commerce Secretary John Bryson sees the number of international visitors to the United States growing….