Sunshine state savings
Florida entices Canadians with new Power Play campaign
(Photo above: VISIT FLORIDA held a downtown Toronto event Nov. 1 that preceded an announcement by the state’s governor to make Florida more economical for Canadians. Pictured are Loretta Shaffer, Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau; Jeannie Rickman, Marion County Board of County Commissioners; VISIT FLORIDA CEO Ken Lawson; Charlotte Lombard Bireley, Visit St. Lucie; Tamara Pigott, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; and Lynn Hobeck Bates, Visit Sarasota County.)
VISIT FLORIDA says a program it introduced last week means Canadians can look forward to smaller credit card bills when booking Florida vacations.
Florida Governor Rick Scott and VISIT FLORIDA CEO Ken Lawson were in Toronto Nov. 1 to announce the Canadian Power Play Program, designed to make it more affordable for Canadians to holiday in the sunshine state.
Package travel deals from VISIT FLORIDA partners include discounts of up to 20%. The program follows a drop in Canadian visits in recent years to a state used to receiving more than three million Canadian visits annually.
Twenty-six Florida businesses and tourism partners are participating in the program, detailed at LoveFlorida.ca.
“We want 100% of Canadians to come down at least once a year,” Scott said at a Toronto train Station, which was decorated with ads touting Florida vacations.
Lawson in turn said the program is “bringing some equity between the loonie and the US dollar… We value our friends.”
Among Florida businesses and tourism partners providing discounts are: Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations, An Owners Dream Management, Beachwalk Resort, Beacon South Beach Hotel, Blue Heron Beach Resort, Caprice Resort, Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld, Emerald Grande, Florida Citrus Sports, Hampton Inn Panama City Beach, HCV Orange Lake Resort, Hertz/Dollar Car Rental, Madeira Bay Resort by TRS, Magic Village Resort, Marenas Beach Resort, Residence Inn Miami Aventura, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Sailport Waterfront Suites, Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Suwannee River Hideaway Campground, The Don Cesar Hotel, TreeUmph! Adventure Course, Xtreme Action Park.
Canada remains Florida’s top international market, with 3.3 million Canadians visiting it in 2016. That accounts for 23% of Florida’s international visitors.
The announcement of the program comes at a time many Canadian travellers begin planning for winter vacations, with 40% of Florida’s Canadian visitors travelling January through March.
“Look outside – is it grey or is it bright?” Lawson said, referring to falling Toronto temperatures and warm Florida ones.
Meanwhile, Scott said a “small part” of the Florida Keys is still recovering from September hurricane damage, but the rest of the state is “completely open.”
Lawson added that Florida experiences vary throughout the state and visiting Canadians should consider broadening their vacations in a jurisdiction that not only has beaches, but many cultural activities for visitors.
“We want Canadians to experience all of Florida,” Lawson said.