VISIT FLORIDA

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.

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.

Rep. Holly Raschein
News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis would get more than the $625 million he requested for environmental projects, Florida Forever would see a funding cut and Visit Florida would be shuttered, under parts of a House budget proposal released Tuesday.

House Speaker Takes Aim At Visit Florida Funding

Dec 6, 2019
Steve Cannon / Associated Press

House Speaker Jose Oliva continues to lead the charge against funding for Visit Florida, saying in a newspaper column this week that tourists would still be drawn to Florida without taxpayer-paid promotional efforts.

Visit Florida To Get $50 Million Reprieve To Prove It's Worth Keeping

Apr 30, 2019
Welcome to Florida sign
Visit Florida

Florida’s tourism-marketing arm will get an extra nine months --- and a $50 million budget --- to prove itself to the governor.

Visit Florida's Facebook page

The tourism industry pushed Wednesday to keep the doors open at the state’s tourism-marketing agency as House and Senate budget committees advanced competing spending plans for next year.

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.

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.

SunPass Now Available In Rest Area Vending Machines

Aug 13, 2013

Those planning a trip on Florida's major highways have a new way to sign up for the state's electronic toll system.

SunPass can now be purchased at the vending machines at three Official Florida Welcome Centers and an Interstate 4 rest area.

According to a release from Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the turnpike is offering SunPass transponders in vending machines through a partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation.

SunPass is currently available for sale in vending machines at the following locations: