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Red hot Florida tourism industry translates into more cash for Visit Florida

1:25 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida tourism is on a roll right now and state leaders want to keep up the momentum by spending more on marketing.

The new state budget boosts funding for the state's marketing agency Visit Florida to more than $63 million next year.

That's up nearly $10 million from the current budget.

Florida attracted a record 91 million visitors last year. Now Visit Florida is aiming to eclipse that number with expanded marketing programs.

President and CEO Will Seccombe said studies show that every dollar spent on tourism marketing generates more than $250 of tourist spending.

"There's actually 1.6 million people visiting the state of Florida today. That's more people than live in 12 U.S. states and, in fact, 38 percent of those visitors were significantly influenced by Visit Florida marketing programs."

Florida's next goal is to try to attract 100 million visitors in a year.

Reaching that goal would create 120,000 new jobs paying an average of $44,000, according to a study by Florida TaxWatch. The study also finds it would pump an extra $6 billion into the state's economy.

Florida's hospitality industry currently employs more than one million Floridians.

Dave Heller

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