Ken Lawson
Visit Florida

Ken Lawson

Florida is unlike any other place in the world. Whether it’s our pristine beaches, natural wonders like the Everglades, the awe-inspiring magic of Orlando or an off-the-beaten path adventure like swimming with manatees, our state is simply a cut above the rest. In 2017, a record 116.5 million people came from all over the globe to visit the place we get to call home. In fact, every year for the past seven years, Florida has achieved record visitation and visitor spending. As the tourism agency that markets Florida to out-of-state visitors, VISIT FLORIDA leads the charge to welcome more visitors to our state.

Why should any of this matter to Floridians? Tourism is the economic engine that drives our state. Without tourism, we’d be hard-pressed to build roads, hire teachers or protect the environment. According to the latest economic impact study, in 2016, visitors to our state had a $112 billion economic impact, contributing $88 billion to Florida’s gross domestic product and over $11 billion in state and local taxes. If state and local taxes generated by tourism evaporated, every Florida household would need to pay an extra $1,535 in taxes just to break even. Simply put, the more visitors we attract to our state, the more hard-earned money citizens get to keep.

Tourism creates jobs and bolsters our economy. Approximately 1.4 million jobs at small, medium and large businesses across our state are supported by tourism. For every 78 visitors, our state creates a job, and one in six jobs in Florida is supported by visitor spending. By every measurable economic indicator, tourism stimulates our economy and creates jobs unlike any other industry in our state.

VISIT FLORIDA supports tourism to Florida by developing leading-edge, innovative marketing programs to retain repeat visitors and attract new ones. We’ve refocused our efforts in key markets, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, to ensure that Florida remains competitive with other destinations. We’ve realigned our programs so that each one is measurable and produces a high return on investment. We’ve cut waste and dedicated historic amounts to core marketing programs. In short, we are constantly improving and progressing in new ways to meet our goal of attracting record numbers of visitors to our state.

In the greater Daytona Beach region, small, medium and large tourism businesses have participated in collaborative marketing efforts with VISIT FLORIDA and routinely attend VISIT FLORIDA signature events such as the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Florida Encounter and Florida Huddle.

This January, Florida Huddle, the official travel trade show for Florida, will be held in beautiful Daytona Beach. Taking place January 8-10, 2019, Florida Huddle is a premier appointment-based trade show that offers the perfect one-stop shop to meet with top tier international and domestic tour operators, wholesalers and decision makers responsible for sending millions of travelers to Florida annually. VISIT FLORIDA is thrilled to bring this event to Daytona Beach and to showcase the destination to tour operators and wholesalers from around the world. If you are a Florida attraction, hotel, resort, airline or destination marketing organization, I encourage you to get involved with VISIT FLORIDA and to consider becoming a supplier at this year’s event.

There has never been a more important time to invest in your business. To be ready for the opportunities ahead, you must be armed with the knowledge and marketing tools that will help you successfully lead your organization and connect you with key clients.

VISIT FLORIDA’s vision is to be the number one travel destination in the world. We’re the first state destination marketing association to earn accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association International and our organization is recognized as an industry leader. Our relationships with tourism businesses help drive our organization’s success and grow our state’s economy. For more than a decade, thousands of tourism businesses have benefited from their VISIT FLORIDA partnership, and I invite you to explore the many ways you can work with the organization. Together, we can invest in our state, create more jobs, bolster our economy and market our state to attract more visitors and become the number one global destination for tourism.

Florida Huddle is the Official Travel Trade Show for Florida. It is the premier appointment-based trade show showcasing all the Sunshine State has to offer for domestic and international tour operators and wholesalers.

The Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism is an annual event bringing together the tourism industry, advertising agencies, travel experts and state leaders to explore the latest trends and opportunities for the industry.

Florida Encounter, the Official Meetings Show for Florida, is a three-day event that brings together selected meeting professionals and top Florida hotels and resorts, attractions, and event suppliers to showcase Florida as the premier meetings destination.