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State economists see tourism growth cancelling out lagging housing starts

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tourism

Nothing emerged during a numbers-crunching exercise by state economists Tuesday to change the economic picture the Legislature will confront this year — growth in tourism and slack housing starts will offset each other as overall growth produces about $31 billion in general revenues. “Those are going to compensate for each other. So, overall, you end up about where you were, on the same path where we were heading,” said Amy Baker, coordinator for the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research.…

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Sunshine State has another banner year for tourism

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Florida had another record-setting year for tourism despite natural disasters, a virus outbreak and a tragic attack on an Orlando nightclub. Gov. Rick Scott will announce Thursday at the Brevard Zoo that nearly 113 million tourists visited the state last year. This is the sixth year in a row that the numbers have climbed. Nearly 107 million tourists visited in 2015. Scott will hail the continued growth during a time when the agency that promotes tourism is coming under fire.…

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Carol Dover: Florida’s future depends on tourism

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tourism

Marketing is a contest for people’s attention, and state tourism marketing is no different. However, the detrimental impacts of removing a powerful marketing mechanism mean a world of difference when your state budget revenue depends on your share of the market. The proposed bill spearheaded by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee that eliminates VISIT FLORIDA will have severe and irreversible impacts on the state’s hospitality industry. We must protect the tourism industry, Florida’s top employer and chief economic driver,…

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Visit Florida defenders swarm Senate Appropriations Committee hearing

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Tourism business owners flocked to a Senate committee room Thursday to plead the case for Visit Florida, the state’s embattled tourism promotions agency. Representing both large operations and independent hotels and restaurants, they urged members of the Appropriations Committee to let the agency continue to sell Florida to potential tourists in the United States and overseas. Sheldon Suga, a manager at Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, brought 1,000 letters from hotel housekeepers and desk clerks, charter boat captains, and other…

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Could Ken Lawson next be tapped to head VISIT FLORIDA?

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Is Ken Lawson the right man to right the state’s beleaguered tourism agency? The smart money in Tallahassee now is betting on Gov. Rick Scott to move Lawson, his secretary of Business and Professional Regulation, to head VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s “official tourism marketing corporation.” As you’ll recall, Scott called on former CEO Will Seccombe to quit, continuing a bloodbath at the organization that saw two other top executives fired. That was from the fallout over how it handled a…

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Jeff Brandes backs House lawsuit to make Pitbull contract public

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A key state senator on Wednesday endorsed House Speaker Richard Corcoran‘s lawsuit seeking to open Visit Florida’s contract with the rapper Pitbull to promote tourism. “That’s a public record,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, chairman of the Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Subcommittee, which oversees Visit Florida. Corcoran sued in state court Tuesday seeking permission to subject the contract to public committee hearings. His suit named PDR Productions Inc., the rapper’s management company. The company maintains the document contains protected trade secrets.…

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Storm wipes out Florida sand crucial for protection, tourism

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When Christa Savva returned to the Sandy Shoes Beach Resort a day after Hurricane Matthew brushed by Melbourne Beach, Florida, she looked at the beach in front of the pink-flamingo-colored hotel and noticed that half the sand dunes had disappeared. Savva guesses three-quarters of the missing dunes washed into the ocean, and the remaining quarter scattered onto the resort’s beachfront property, which was undamaged by the hurricane. “I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness!’” Savva, a property manager for the Space-Age-era…

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