The Partnership for Florida Tourism is proud to present Florida Tourism Day on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 in Tallahassee. The event is designed to educate the legislature, media and Floridians on the significant role tourism plays in the success of our state’s economy. According to preliminary estimates, 97.3 million visitors came to Florida in 2014. This is the fourth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 93.7 million in 2013. The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2014 was also a record high, with more than 1.3 million Floridians employed in the tourism industry, up 3.6 percent from 2013.
Ten statewide organizations are scheduled to participate in the event and will host a downtown nighttime celebration that is open to the public. The street party will be held on Adams Street between College and Jefferson Streets where musical group The Free Wheelin’ Band will perform live beginning at 5:00 PM. Food vendors and downtown restaurants will provide refreshments for purchase. Last year, Florida Tourism Day drew more than 400 industry attendees, representing 44 Florida counties, who met with legislators and government leaders.
Participating organizations include: VISIT FLORIDA, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Florida Attractions Association, Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, Florida Association of Destination Management Organizations, Florida Association of Museums, Film Florida, the Florida Sports Foundation, Florida Cattleman’s Association and the Florida Department of Agriculture.
“It is truly incredible to see so many great leaders rally together here in Tallahassee to safeguard the needs and celebrate the achievements of industry which represents 23% of our state’s economy. As an industry, we are the state’s largest job creator and it is critical that we continue to work together alongside Governor Rick Scott and our state legislators to ensure visitors keep coming back for a fantastic hospitality experience that is exclusively offered here in Florida,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“2014 marked the fourth consecutive record year for Florida tourism. Given that we have the best tourism product on the planet, visionary public sector leadership from Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, more than 1.1 million Floridians who provide exceptional service to our visitors every day, and highly impactful marketing programs from VISIT FLORIDA and our destination marketing partners across the state, Florida is well-positioned to become the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.
“Florida’s finest family attractions are excited to join with our industry partners to celebrate Florida’s unique position and reputation as the world’s preeminent tourism destination. With over one million Sunshine State residents employed in Florida tourism jobs, and over four years of unprecedented growth in visitor numbers, we look forward to an even brighter future for our industry,” said Bill Lupfer, President & CEO of the Florida Attractions Association.
“The Florida RV Park and Campground Industry is proud to be a partner in the 2015 Florida Tourism Day event. It’s important that all of us in the industry come together to recognize and celebrate the positive impact tourism has on Florida’s economy. Thanks to VISIT FLORIDA, The Partnership for Florida’s Tourism, and the support of Governor Rick Scott and our state legislators, Florida is well on the way to becoming the #1 travel destination in the world,” said Bobby Cornwell, President/CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
“Tourism marketing through VISIT FLORIDA and our county tourism promotion agencies is critical to maintaining Florida’s market share within the competitive market for tourists. Florida must continue to fund VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts as well as protect the current uses of the Tourist Development Tax to continue attracting more visitors and creating good jobs for Floridians,” said Robert Skrob, Executive Director, Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations.
“The Florida Association of Museums is honored to be a partner in Tourism Day again this year and we look forward to building on the tremendous success of last year, with increased visitors and revenues for our great state,” said Malinda Horton, Executive Director of the Florida Association of Museums.
“It is well known that film, television and digital media are key components to promoting tourism in Florida. A recent survey conducted by VISIT FLORIDA showed 22.7% of domestic visitors to the state indicated viewing a movie or television series filmed in Florida contributed to their decision to travel here. We believe diversity in our state’s marketing efforts generates increased tourism, enhanced ROI numbers and positive economic development benefits,” said Michelle Hillery, President of Film Florida.
“A recent economic impact survey showed a $43 billion benefit to the state and a $5.6 return on investment for every dollar spent, which indicates the sports industry continues to prove itself as a viable economic driver for Florida. As strong contributors to the industry, we are looking forward to participating in this year’s Florida Tourism Day to highlight many of our great events that are sure to attract millions of visitors to the state,” said John Webb, President of the Florida Sports Foundation.
The Partnership for Florida’s Tourism is a grassroots coalition which began in 2006 designed to raise awareness of the importance of tourism and to increase public funding of tourism marketing. Key stakeholders in the tourism industry have joined in this effort. The Partnership is comprised of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Florida Attractions Association, Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, Florida Association of Destination Management Organizations and VISIT FLORIDA.