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tourism

Irma effect on tourism mixed

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Florida could recover from Hurricane Irma’s wrath in time for its busy tourism season this winter, but that’s likely not the case for harder-hit Caribbean islands including St. Martin/St. Maarten, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Barbuda, according to travel experts’ early reads.

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Despite scrutiny Florida’s tourism agency paid out bonuses

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Florida’s tourism marketing agency paid nearly $441,000 in employee bonuses this summer despite months of scrutiny from legislators over spending.

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Pat Neal: Look to Colorado – cutting VISIT Florida funding would be disastrous

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Under the leadership of Gov. Rick Scott, the revival of the Florida economy has been marked by annual job growth and tourism rates that outpace the national average. The inextricable link between Florida’s investment in its tourism industry and this economic recovery is affirmed by the statistics. Visitor spending in Florida has increased by an average of 6.8 percent annually over the past five years, with $78.3 billion spent in 2010 growing to a $108.8 billion total by 2015. The…

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Steve Hayes: Tourism industry in jeopardy with House Bill 1A

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The Florida House of Representatives has recently espoused a philosophy of not “picking winners and losers,” but House Bill 1A does just that. As I watched Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, and Speaker Richard Corcoran announce their plans for a special session to discuss tourism funding, I felt hopeful for the fate of Florida’s tourism industry. However, my optimism faded when I read the strict VISIT Florida provisions tucked inside House Bill 1A. Of course, I am deeply…

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No Casinos responds to criticism it’s ‘misinformed’ about casino gambling

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The state’s anti-gambling expansion group is pushing back against comments that it’s “misinformed” about casino gambling not being a “meaningful attraction for Florida tourism.” Steven Norton, a longtime gambling executive and consultant, linked to Nick Sortal‘s Friday column for the Miami Herald in Norton’s Monday email roundup of the gambling scene in the South. “As I survey the scene nationwide, I think it’s fair to ask the question: Do we have enough casinos already? And, a related question: Do we have enough gambling already?”…

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Rick Scott announces record tourism numbers, criticizes marketing budget cut

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A record number of tourists — 31.1 million visitors — came to Florida during the first three months of 2017, a 2.5 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Gov. Rick Scott released the latest numbers Monday at Miami’s Jungle Island. Nearly 113 million tourists — most of them from the United States — visited last year. However Scott warned that potential cuts to Florida’s tourism marketing agency could doom continued growth. State legislators recently voted to cut funding…

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Proviso language on Tampa airport audit ‘bumped’ to budget chairs

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While Senate and House negotiators made progress on many tourism, transportations and economic development budgetary issues Saturday, a slew of line items will be “bumped” up to Appropriations Chairs Jack Latvala and Carlos Trujillo. Most notable was a bump of proviso language on an audit of Tampa International Airport’s master renovation plan. State Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican, earlier this month had called for the audit, alleging “potential public corruption” over the facility’s billion-dollar-plus renovation. Another bump was whether to require the…

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