Visit Florida

Hurricane Irma’s state-engulfing radar signature and widespread damage will be a hard image to shake, but tourism experts say Florida’s biggest industry will rebound.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Rick Scott wants to do away with bonuses for employees at the state's tourism and business-recruitment agencies, at least for now.

After fighting with the Legislature earlier this year to keep the agencies funded, Scott on Thursday rejected the bonuses “at this time.”

Scott sent a letter to members of the boards of directors at Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida outlining his opposition to the employee rewards.

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

Attracting more than 120 million visitors before the end of the calendar year remains a goal of the state's tourism-marketing arm, now that Visit Florida's funding won't be slashed.

Visit Florida's Vice President Steps Down

Jun 27, 2017

Vice President of Florida’s tourism agency, Alfredo Gonzalez is stepping down. Spokesman Stephen Lawson says Visit Florida’s current President, Ken Lawson will lead the organization forward.

Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott took his fight for business incentives directly to critics Tuesday, using his "State of the State" address to defend requests for tens of millions of dollars to lure companies to Florida and to market the state's tourism industry.

Tom Hudson

A Miami-based rapper. A second-tier English soccer club and a sports car racing team.

 

What ties them together is Visit Florida, the state group that markets Florida to tourists across the country and across the globe. What also ties these three together is they provided the ammunition for opponents of using taxpayer money to promote tourism.

 

Gov. Rick Scott has been on a very visible tour of the state recently, painting efforts to pare back on some of his programs as potential job-killers. WUSF's Steve Newborn looks at those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

The Florida House appears ready to take its incentives fight with Governor Rick Scott into the legislative session.

Amanda Rabines / WLRN News

Governor Rick Scott is touring Florida to go to bat for two agencies the state legislature is trying to do away with - Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development agency, and Visit Florida, the state's tourism-marketing arm.

At a roundtable meeting in Sunrise, Wednesday, Scott talked to a room full of local business leaders about the importance of hanging on to both.

“Your tourist economy was worth $8 billion dollars last year, just in Broward County. In this county, 113,000 jobs are tied to tourism,” Scott said.

The speaker of the Florida House is trying to end funding for Visit Florida. He's claiming that the state's tourism marketing effort isn't having any noticeable impact on the number of visitors to the state.

But is it? WUSF's Steve Newborn runs the numbers by Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

New Visit Florida CEO Named After Pitbull Revelation

Jan 10, 2017

The Visit Florida board on Tuesday agreed to pay $73,000 to the agency's ousted CEO and appointed state Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Ken Lawson to immediately step in as a replacement.

The moves came after a controversy that included House leaders last month exposing an expired $1 million contract between the tourism-marketing agency and Miami rapper Pitbull to promote the state.

Rapper Pitbull released his $1 million contract with Florida's tourism marketing agency two days after the House speaker sued to find out details of the agreement.

Pitbull used Twitter to make the contract public on Thursday. He tweeted "*FULL DISCLOSURE – FLORIDA*" with a link to the 11-page agreement.

'Sexy Beaches' Get Rocky As Florida House Sues Over Pitbull Contract

Dec 14, 2016

Florida lawmakers want a judge to force a production company to say how much Armando Christian Perez, better known as the rapper Pitbull, was paid by the state's tourism-marketing arm to be a musical ambassador.

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