JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More than a week after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida there continues to be devastating pictures and stories coming from Southwest Florida. And while Northeast Florida did experience some significant flooding, many businesses that center around tourism are once again operating at full capacity and ready to get back to life as normal.
The First Coast dodged a bullet and local tourism boards want the rest of the country to know about it. Visit Florida is in the process of showcasing tourism across the parts of the state that were not devastated by Hurricane Ian and that includes the beaches, museums and attractions of the First Coast. A statement issued by Visit Florida to First Coast News reads in part:
- VISIT FLORIDA's marketing rebound effort is already underway. Videographers have been deployed all over the state to capture beautiful blue sky footage of unaffected areas of the state, including Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Tallahassee, and Amelia Island. Filming for St. Augustine and the Florida Keys will be deployed soon. This content, along with PR programming and talking points, will be ready to go when the time is right for statewide promotion, including banner ads, video, and social. Promotional contest programs will resume next week.
There is also a local tourism push specific to Jacksonville, Visit Jacksonville has its largest advertising budget in its organization's history and will restart its ad campaign by targeting other cities in the Southeast and East Coast.
Just a quick trip south down A1A the City of St. Augustine is rebounding. St. George Inn owner Irving Kass says that he's open for business after the flooding.
"We were actually open at noon on Friday (September 30th), which was our plan all along," said Kass, "our hearts go out to the people affected by the Hurricane and we were fortunate that it was 100 miles off the coast. Walking through town, every restaurant is open, the weather is fabulous and we're going to be sold out this weekend."
Tourism is as good as gold in St. Augustine, which is fitting because a quick 2 block walk from St. George Inn leads to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. Pirate and Treasure Museum Executive Director Cindy Stavely said that after the flooding receded between Thursday and Friday her business was open and ready for visitors on Saturday.
"The tourism community is a very close knit community and we're all here to help and support each other," said Stavely, "we're a very tight knit community, everybody knows everybody."
A different sense of community is also ready to descend on Duval County; the Jaguars have 6 home games left this season including this Sunday October 9th against the Houston Texans.
Later this month one of the best college football rivalries is renewed when defending national champion Georgia faces Florida at TIAA Bank Field on October 29th.
Tourism boards are ready to show the rest of the country what we already know, that after the storm the First Coast has rebounded and that life is good.