VISIT FLORIDA

beach chairs
Pixabay

Florida continues to see record numbers of visitors while the state's tourism-marketing agency has been forced to reinvent its approach after months of legislative turmoil.

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we talked about the future of Visit Florida with Robert Skrob (01:02), executive director of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations. We learned about the future of the use of drones with Jameson Rice (21:34), associate with the law firm Holland and Knight. Our latest edition of “Movable Feast” hosted by Leigh Cort of the Women’s Food Alliance features Lorna McDonald (36:40) from St. Augustine’s The Raintree restaurant. Dr. Arun Gulani (46:23) from Gulana Vision Care talks about how corneal transplants might become a thing of the past.  

 

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Jacksonville Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of a new aluminum bottle plant on the Westside.


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Visit Jacksonville CEO Paul Astleford (1:02) about THE PLAYERS Championship’s impact on the region and concerns about the funding of Visit Florida. Attorney Wayne Hogan, Donna Orender and Director of Development at the ALS Association Florida Chapter Carmen Stokes (21:24) spoke about May 21  ALS fundraiser at the Baseball Grounds. Our new segment “Moveable Feast,” hosted by Women’s Food Alliance founder Leigh Cort, spoke with Casa Marina Hotel General Manager Mark Vandeloo (32:45), and this month’s First Coast Connect Book Club with blogger Stacey Goldring (40:53) discussed the book “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. 

 

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT Public Broadcasting

In observance of National Travel and Tourism Week, Northeast Florida officials are celebrating the tourism industry as an economic engine.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT Public Broadcasting

Gov. Rick Scott was in Jacksonville Tuesday to congratulate a local transportation and logistics company for creating jobs.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

For the fourth time since the start of the legislative session, Governor Rick Scott held a roundtable Tuesday in Jacksonville defending the state’s business-incentive program.

This time the two-term Republican governor focused on the intersection of employment and education, joining Mayor Lenny Curry and leaders from the city’s largest college and university.


Department of Economic Opportunity

The head of Florida’s economic and workforce agency is pushing back against claims business subsidies don’t spur economic development.


Our weekly Media Roundtable included Florida Times-Union reporter Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT business analyst John Burr. Artists Tracie Thornton, Jenny Hager and Lance Vickery told us about the exhibit “Humanity: The Value of a Life,” beginning Friday at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. HGTV star Tyler Wisler joined the program to discuss the Home and Patio show at the Prime Osborn Center and we met “Show Boat” cast members Billy Clark Taylor, Annabelle Fox and Peter Jackson. 


A Florida house budget panel recently voted against funding an economic development agency as well as the state’s tourism bureau.

Flikr/Creative Commons

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday requested the resignation of the state's tourism-marketing leader amid a controversy over an expired $1 million contract with a Miami hip-hop artist whom the governor praised for his "devotion to our great state."

bar in Amelia Island
Ryan Benk / WJCT News

A hurricane that hit North Florida, the continued spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a horrific massacre in Orlando haven't slowed the appeal of the Sunshine State for tourists, according to state officials.

Gary Nichols / U.S. Navy

A change to state law is making it simpler for military veterans to attend college regardless of where they call home.

In the past, veterans going to a public college or university were often considered non-residents.

But since the GI Bill only paid for in-state tuition, veterans had to pay the difference between in-state and the higher out-of-state rate from their own pockets.

VA Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity Curtis Coy, says Florida was one of the early adopters of the change that is now the standard nationwide.

Florida's public-private tourism agency has signed a deal to sponsor a professional soccer club in England's second-highest league.

The Visit Florida logo will appear on Fulham Football Club jerseys. The logo will also be on the three roofs of its London stadium, known as Craven Cottage, which is along the flight path for Heathrow Airport.

Fulham is owned by Shahid Khan, who also owns the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Florida has set a tourism record for a single quarter. Tourism marketer VISIT FLORIDA is reporting more than 28 million visitors arrived between January and March in 2015. WJCT went to the Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95 to see what was drawing them in.

When asked why he was visiting Florida, Wayne Phillips, from Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, said he loved Florida. He said he was going to spend his vacation at Ormond Beach.

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