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Fernandina Lawmaker Fighting For More Medical Tourism Marketing Dollars

Florida Senate

A Fernandina Beach lawmaker is pushing for even more state funding to promote medical tourism. Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) wants the Sunshine State to better compete with other doctor-heavy destinations.

This year, Florida awarded more than $3 million to local governments, including Jacksonville and Amelia Island, to promote their medical services. But Bean says that matching grant program was a one-time appropriation that will go away if his bill doesn’t pass. He says a bigger chunk of the state’s tourism marketing budget should go toward attracting the bigger spenders.

“What we’ve discovered is that a medical tourist is a typical on economic steroids, so to speak,” Bean said.

He says people traveling to the U.S. for medical procedures spend up to 12 times as much as a typical visitor, partly because they stay longer and tend to bring family with them.

This is the second year he’s filed the proposal.