Ken Lawson isn’t shy about telling you that Canada is Florida’s number one international market and that the Sunshine State is about to double-down on its activities here, executive editor Bob Mowat in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.
Lawson, who took over as president & CEO of Visit Florida in January of this year, was in Toronto this month to meet with key suppliers and let them know exactly how committed Florida is to the Canadian market.
“This past year we had 3.2 million Canadians come to Florida,” Lawson observed in a conversation with Canadian Travel Press and that’s obviously a good thing.
However, he qualifies that, pointing out that: “We’ve seen a decline in Canadians coming to Florida over the last 12 quarters. Now that’s still good for us, in terms of numbers, but it means other [US] states are going after Canadians and, perhaps, we took our eye off the ball for a period of time.”
He explained: “We need to make sure that our message not only penetrates the snowbirds who are coming down, but [penetrates] new Canadians. We recognize there’s diversity in Canada – people look different than they did in the past.”
Along with recognizing the changing demographics of the Canadian market, Visit Florida’s boss also wants Canadians to recognize that: “We have more in Florida. We have diversity. And we want to make sure Canadians know about it. You can swim with the manatees. See a rocket ship go up. Go to a great restaurant. Have an adventure.”
Lawson also told CTP that Visit Florida – which made its biggest spend in Canada this past year – is looking to hire a group here to educate Canadian travel agents about the diversity of the Sunshine state’s tourism offerings and the range of selling opportunities that are available to them.
The hiring process is expected to be completed some time in September.
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.