Tourism Officials Warn Cuts Will Make Budget Worse

Tourism Officials Warn Cuts Will Make Budget WorseThe News Service of Florida


TALLAHASSEE – The Legislature’s $9.9 million cut to the marketing budget of Visit Florida, the state’s tourism development agency, will only put Florida deeper in the hole, tourism officials are warning.

Not only should lawmakers reverse the cut, they should add more money to try to get more people to come to the state, an industry group says. With consumer confidence off and visits already expected to drop, failing to aggressively court those who will travel will shrink tax collections, officials in the state’s largest industry say.

“Decreased tourism marketing will result in fewer visitors to Florida, lured away by other markets,” the Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus said in a statement released this week. “Fewer visitors equals less tourism dollars to spend in hotels, at attractions, gift shops, restaurants and in real estate.

“This decrease in spending will impact all areas of Florida’s economy, reducing sales tax revenue. This particular budget cut will only result in larger cuts in the future due to lower sales tax collections.”

The association, which represents local tourism agencies around the state, is calling on the Legislature to restore the tourism marketing budget and invest an additional $20 million dollars in an aggressive promotion campaign to attract visitors to Florida.