Visit Florida

Visit Florida Approves Budget, But More Money Eyed

Jun 25, 2020

The Visit Florida Board of Directors on Wednesday approved more than $42 million for tourism marketing as part of a $108 million operating budget for next fiscal year.

However, a lot more money might be needed to offset the coronavirus’ massive damage to the tourism and hospitality industries, according to board member Carol Dover.

Travelers might again get a free cup of Florida’s homegrown beverage when they cross the state line, through funding tucked in the Senate’s proposed budget.

jeffschwartz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

House Speaker Jose Oliva appeared firm in his stance against Visit Florida as tourism officials, with the backing of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Senate President Bill Galvano, tried to showcase the importance of the industry on Wednesday.

Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, maintained his opposition to funding Visit Florida as “Florida Tourism Day” events took place in Tallahassee. Oliva has pushed to eliminate the agency, arguing that state money isn’t needed for tourism marketing.

Senate President Bill Galvano had breakfast with members of the Capitol press corps Tuesday, fielding questions on (just about) everything under the Sunshine. Here are a few of the matters Galvano weighed in on:

Visit Florida Slashes Staff

May 24, 2019

Visit Florida cut one-third of its staff Thursday, slashing its payroll after the state Legislature cut funding for the tourism agency by 34 percent. 

Visit Florida Signs Off On Budget Cuts

May 15, 2019

Faced with a “prove-it” year to state lawmakers, the board of Florida’s tourism-marketing arm on Wednesday approved a 30 percent payroll cut.

A reluctant Visit Florida Board of Directors agreed to slash payroll by $3.65 million, and strategic marketing by $17.8 million, with an acknowledgement the agency must do a better job of selling itself to lawmakers, particularly in the House, which sought to eliminate the public-private agency during this year’s legislative session.

Visit Florida survived in the session -- but took a 34 percent funding cut.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants more international tourists to 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. 

News Service of Florida

The tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida would only be funded for three months, while Enterprise Florida wouldn’t get any state money as part of a budget proposal released Tuesday by a House panel for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Also left out of the House proposal was continuation of an $85-million-a-year economic-development effort, known as the Job Growth Grant Fund, that was created in a compromise between the House and former Gov. Rick Scott.

Visit Florida Is Looking For A New Leader

Jan 2, 2019

Visit Florida board members will hold a conference call in early January to discuss replacing the tourism-promotion agency’s president and CEO, who will move to the state Department of Economic Opportunity under Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

Just months after seeing the budget for the state tourism marketing agency cut to $75 million amid a cantankerous political fight, Gov. Rick Scott is asking again for a major boost.

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.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Rick Scott wants to do away with bonuses for employees at the state's tourism and business-recruitment agencies, at least for now.

After fighting with the Legislature earlier this year to keep the agencies funded, Scott on Thursday rejected the bonuses “at this time.”

Scott sent a letter to members of the boards of directors at Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida outlining his opposition to the employee rewards.

Florida's tourism marketing agency paid nearly $441,000 in employee bonuses this summer despite months of scrutiny from legislators over spending.

Attracting more than 120 million visitors before the end of the calendar year remains a goal of the state's tourism-marketing arm, now that Visit Florida's funding won't be slashed.

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