Upping The Ante


In this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, Montreal editor, Mike Dunbar reports that Florida’s tourism industry and its destination marketing organization (DMO) now have a new visitor target to chase: 127 visitors annually by 2020.

With 93.7 million tourist arrivals in 2013 and 50 million in the first half of this year, all indicators point to the industry meeting Governor Rick Scott’s challenge to top the 100-million mark by 2015.

But now the state’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research has issued its own challenge; raising the bar to 127 million by the turn of the decade.

The new target was one of the major talking points at the state’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Boca Raton in mid September and prompted VISITFLORIDA CEO Will Seccombe to tell some 900 delegates, “This is a wake-up call to the industry to double down.”

Scott praised industry leaders present for their leadership role in “driving every part of the economy.” He stated, “Not only are you driving growth; you’re also creating jobs and spreading a warm feeling about our state.”

Seccombe pointed to five elements key to Florida’s continued success. He said, “We need to protect and invest in the world’s best tourism product, with 825 miles of beaches, state and national parks and the theme park, golf and motorsport capitals of the world.”

“Visionary public sector leadership” is also vital, according to the DMO chief, who pointed out that the industry currently enjoys the support of a governor and legislature that understands the importance of tourism to the state’s overall economy.

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.