tourism

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Florida attracted 31.7 million visitors in the second quarter of this year, as the state continued to expand tourism-marketing efforts and COVID-19 vaccinations became readily available.

St. Augustine's City Hall is pictured during Nights of Lights.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Beginning in October, St. Johns County will add an additional 1-cent tax to overnight stays in hotels, bringing the so-called “bed tax” there from 4- to 5-cents. 

Visit Florida's Facebook page


State economists expressed optimism Tuesday that already-rebounding tourism numbers will see a quicker-than-anticipated boost from international travelers as Canada eases COVID-19 border restrictions.

News4Jax

People driving through Inglewood, Calif. on their way to the Los Angeles International Airport this week will be greeted by an unfamiliar face on a massive billboard hanging over La Tijera Boulevard — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

HEATHER SCHATZ / WJCT NEWS

Florida’s monthly revenues continue to top expectations, aided recently by an increase in tourism-industry tax collections, a new report from state economists shows.

Florida’s tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic. But as Memorial Day approaches and the number of coronavirus cases falls in Florida and around the country, hotel occupancy rates are bouncing back.

Occupancy rates measure the percentage of available rooms that are occupied in a given period.

Area kayaking locations are among the activities promoted on PonteVedraNaturally.com.
St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce / Via PonteVedraNaturally.com

A new tourism website touting outdoor adventures in St. Johns County has launched.

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Florida’s tourism-marketing agency is planning international trips as officials work to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry.

Ryan Ketterman / Visit Jacksonville

Florida’s tourism industry saw improvement during the first three months of 2021, but the number of visitors was still down 14% from a year earlier as the state continued to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit Florida Backs 'Life's Rewards' Video Series To Boost Tampa Bay

May 17, 2021

Florida’s tourism-marketing agency is the co-producer of a streamed television show designed to attract people to the Tampa Bay region as part of COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

Visit Florida has for nearly a year teamed with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater — with each putting up $275,000 — on an eight-episode show called “Life’s Rewards” that started streaming Monday on platforms including Amazon Prime, YouTube, GoUSA TV and Places.Travel.

HEATHER SCHATZ/WJCT NEWS

COVID-19 ended a decade of record-setting tourism numbers in Florida, with the industry seeing a 34% drop in visitors in 2020 compared to the prior year.

Tourism Officials Look To Expand Marketing Efforts

Feb 1, 2021

While leaders push back against a federal recommendation to close bars and halt indoor restaurant dining, Florida’s tourism-marketing agency is looking west as the industry continues trying to rebound during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next target audience for Visit Florida will be the West Coast, expanding earlier efforts that targeted travelers from East Coast cities who could drive or take short flights to Florida.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

COVID-19 has cost Florida billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs. The virus has hit the state’s biggest industry — tourism — hard.

WILFREDO LEE / AP

Effects of the coronavirus pandemic on state tourism decreased in October, but recovery for Florida’s vital revenue-generating industry is still at best a year away, according to an association study released Monday.

Analysts Point To Florida Tourism Uptick Next Year

Nov 24, 2020
LYNNE SLADKY / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Florida’s vital tourism industry could start to experience an uptick midway through 2021, although foreign travel will continue to lag for several years, according to information posted online Tuesday by state analysts.

Florida Tourism Down More Than 30% In 3rd Quarter

Nov 19, 2020

As business restrictions were gradually lifted from the coronavirus shutdown, Florida’s tourism industry saw a nearly 32% drop in visitors during the third quarter compared to the same period last year, according to numbers released Thursday by Visit Florida.

Visit Florida forecasts big trouble for the global tourism industry. The group wants the sunshine state to get ahead of that, and local tourism agencies are catering to those itching to travel.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the market share of overseas travelers was decreasing. Visit Florida's Staci Mellman says the drop started in 2015. It had started climbing again in 2019, right before the pandemic.

"But, as you might have noticed, that was 2019, and everything has changed," Mellman says.

Visit Florida is expanding its marketing efforts after the coronavirus severely impacted the state’s tourism industry. The agency is hoping to convince tourists within driving distance of Florida to vacation in the Sunshine State. Visit Florida’s Staci Mellman says it’s the third phase of the campaign.

“We did launch phase two, which promoted travel to in-state residents just in advance of Labor Day, right around the end of August, and we expanded to nearby domestic drive markets for phase three on October 5,” Mellman says.

Shawana Brooks shared this post on her Instagram page after being named a Visit Jacksonville Ambassador.
Shawana Brooks' Instagram page

Visit Jacksonville is tapping into the marketing power of social influencers to try to drum up interest in Duval County.

A woman riding a horse on the beach at Amelia Island, featured in the "Day Trips in Florida" section of VisitFlorida.com.
Patrick Farrell / Visit Florida

Visit Florida is launching an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging in-state travel to try to help Florida’s tourism industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

City leaders are trying to make Jacksonville one of the top destinations for sporting events.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

“We wanted to build something that’s an experience, not just another activity,” said Jax Rides co-owner Katie Derringer as she launches the fat-tire e-bike tour service in Jacksonville's urban core with her wife, Amy.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Bolstered by U.S. and Canadian tourists, Florida’s visitor count continued at a record pace through the second quarter of 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said Thursday.

Downtown Jacksonville
Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville

More tourists are choosing the First Coast for their vacations. 

Visit Florida Is Looking For A New Leader

Jan 2, 2019
Visit Florida

Visit Florida board members will hold a conference call in early January to discuss replacing the tourism-promotion agency’s president and CEO, who will move to the state Department of Economic Opportunity under Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

Consultant: Rebrand All Of Northeast Florida As 'Jacksonville'

Sep 19, 2018
Jay Schlichter / Jacksonville Daily Record

The seven-county region should be rebranded and needs to work together to make it “the highest performing economy in the nation,” according to a 62-page marketing and strategic plan titled “Elevate Northeast Florida.”

Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville

It looks as though Florida’s reputation as a friendly place to retire remains secure.

Visit Jacksonville

With Florida coming off a record year for tourism in 2017, newly released numbers indicate sun-seekers continued to flock to the state during the first three months of 2018.

The Daily Record

Jehovah’s Witnesses will be holding three-day conventions at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on June 15-17 and June 29-July 1.

Northeast Florida Regional Airport via Facebook

Jacksonville travelers have seven new flights to choose from, after low-cost Frontier Airlines announced it’s adding direct flights to places like San Antonio and Las Vegas.

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