Florida Parks System Gets A Close Up On National Geographic

Oct 26, 2015

Florida’s efforts to bring more visitors to the state are getting a boost from National Geographic. The website has launched a new hub dedicated to the Florida parks system.

The hub is a compilation of pictures and information designed to lure visitors to the great outdoors. The launch is tied to an Instagram photo contest that runs through mid-November.

“We realized that we had a great story to tell,” says Paul Phipps, chief marketing officer for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism corporation. “National Geographic has given us the opportunity to tell that story in a very engaging and compelling way.”

Drones were used to take aerial pictures of the parks, showing a bird’s eye view of activities like kayaking and zip lining. Phipps says it's a great way to showcase the state to 100 million annual tourists who may want unique vacation options. He says the number of domestic and international visitors could reach 125 million by 2020, and they’ll need other places to go besides beaches and theme parks.

“We can’t put all those people through just big gateways. We just can’t add more people to Orlando or Miami or Tampa,” Phipps says. “It’s starting to put people into those rural markets, so the north-central part of the state is going to be a beneficiary from this. That’s going to help us to sustain and maintain and grow our state park systems.”

To promote the hub, the National Geographic “Explore Florida Outdoors” Instagram photo contest is underway. Tag your best shots of Florida’s natural attractions like parks and wildlife with #FloridaOutdoorsContest and add a brief caption. The grand prize winner gets a trip for two to the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. The contest runs until November 13, 2015.