Visit Florida touts record tourism but warns of funding cut impact
Florida Gov. Rick Scott touted record first quarter tourism figures, but at the same time gave a pessimistic outlook for the rest of the year.
The Sunshine State received 31.1 million visitors, up 2.5% over the same period in 2016.
However surpassing the 2016 full-year total of 113 million will be a tall order, Scott said.
State legislators recently voted to slash funding for Visit Florida by a huge 67%, which could yet be vetoed by Scott.
“This historic number would not have been possible without the significant funding we have invested in Visit Florida over the past few years,” Scott said.
“Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results. Instead of decimating funding to Visit Florida, we should be investing in tourism marketing so we can continue to bring record visitors to our state.”
Visit Florida president and CEO Ken Lawson said: “Our organization is going to have to make tough decisions in the coming weeks and will not be able to compete with destinations like California and Texas.
“We will strive every day so Florida does not become another case study like other states who lost billions of dollars in revenue due to cutting tourism marketing dollars,” Lawson added.