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Jacksonville Marks National Tourism Week

Ryan Benk
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry commemorates National Tourism Week with Paul Astleford of Visit Jacksonville Monday.

Jacksonville officials kicked off National Tourism Week on Monday with a new campaign highlighting the River City.

Visit Jacksonville President Paul Astleford wants city residents to tweet the names of restaurants, parks and other attractions with the #OnlyInJax hash tag.

MORE | View the #OnlyInJax feed below

Astleford said the tag is to help prospective tourists hear directly from the people who live here.

“We are all working together to market, sell and promote Jacksonville as the destination to visit for both leisure and business travel,” he said.

Astleford said Visit Jax has an event planned every day this week to thank residents and tourists alike for choosing Jacksonville, including a call to service for residents to help clean up the city’s beaches in advance of the summer tourist season.

Last year, Visit Jax had more than $4 million to spend on marketing, and it says that helped bring in more than $2 billion in tourism-related sales.

Astleford calls that a success.

“Visit Jacksonville has booked over 800 conventions and business meetings over the last three years. Resulting in over 500,000 room nights to our destination’s hotels,” he said.

Jacksonville is one of the top 50 convention destinations nationally, but ranks behind in-state competitors, Tampa, Miami and Orlando.

According to Visit Tampa, its tourism sales are double that of Jacksonville’s, at more than $5 billion. There’s a similar disparity for Orlando.

#OnlyInJax Tweets

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.