Florida’s state tourism-marketing agency, Visit Florida, announced Wednesday that it plans to ask Florida lawmakers to increase the agency’s funding, and extend the expiration or “sunset” date of the agency.
At an Enterprise Florida Board of Directors meeting where the announcement was made, Visit Florida Chairman Danny Gaekwad said the agency will request $75 million and ask for its sunset date to be once again extended past its current date of October 1st, 2023.
Before the current sunset date in 2023, the initial sunset date was October 1st, 2020.
For fiscal year 2020-2021, the budget for Visit Florida was $50 million. The Florida legislature approved an additional $50 million for the current fiscal year, while federal stimulus money provided the agency with $25 million, totaling $75 million.
Although it is $25 million more than what the state of Florida allocated to the agency for this fiscal year, the request for $75 million for fiscal year 2022-2023 is said to be needed to “continue the momentum” Visit Florida has created in during the recovery.
“It is time to get a meaningful reauthorization so we can focus on the important work we need to do,” Gaekwad stated at the meeting. “Visit Florida‘s goal is to beat the economic projection of recovery by 2024, [and] we believe we are on the right track,” he added.
Reiterating statements made in August by Visit Florida’s CEO and President Dana Young, Gaekwad stated, “Florida being open, and the only state doing any advertisement outside its borders for a very long time, put us in a strong strategic position to now capitalize on the pent-up demand for travel. Visit Florida is doing everything possible to keep Florida on the top.”
The marketing agency focused on both in-state and domestic marketing campaigns when the pandemic hit in 2020, but now its efforts will be focused on increasing the number of international travelers coming to the state. Those efforts can already be seen as Young is currently in London working on a campaign to “proactively put Florida in the best possible position when global travel resumes.”
On September 20th, the White House announced that it plans on lifting its international travel ban with 33 countries. However, foreign travelers coming to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated and submit a negative COVID test three days before departure. In July, Canada loosened its COVID-19 border restrictions, allowing non-essential vaccinated travelers in and out of the country.
That being said, Visit Florida’s work towards boosting international travel could begin to show its effects in the state in the coming months and into 2022.
– – –