Florida governor fights for tourism dollars in South Florida

Estimates show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State in January March 2017

Estimates show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State in January March 2017

Scott has hinted he may veto the budget.

Florida drew 31.1 million visitors during the first three months of the year, the highest number during any quarter in state history, according to the governor's office. People from other US states accounted for 27 million of Florida's visitors during the first three months of this year.

Stop in any rest area in Florida and you'll likely see cars with out of state plates.

Although tourism tax collections are up about 2.6 percent for the budget year, the county had projected 3.5 percent growth this year.

Visit Florida in 2015 signed a secret $1 million contract with Pitbull to promote Florida that included the rapper doing a new video for his song "Sexy Beaches" touting the state's beaches and hotels. Both are trends that have been underway for more than a year.

The budget does not include business-incentive money Scott sought for Enterprise Florida and substantially cut the money for tourism marketing.

Florida governor fights for tourism dollars in South Florida
Florida governor fights for tourism dollars in South Florida

Scott, however, warned that potential cuts to Florida's tourism marketing agency could doom continued growth.

"With all the attractions in the state and the natural resources that we have here, I believe people are going to continue coming to Florida and visiting Florida".

Scott announced Monday that Kim McDougal is stepping down from her position this summer.

Visit Florida says the lack of funding will make it harder for the state to compete with other tourist destinations like California, and could possibly lead to the state losing billions of dollars in revenue.

"Because the Legislature chose to inadequately fund Visit Florida, our organization is going to have to make tough decisions in the coming weeks and will not be able to compete with destinations like California and Texas", said Ken Lawson, the agency's CEO.

Almost 113 million tourists — majority from the US — visited a year ago, despite concerns that news events would turn them away. "1.4 million jobs in our state are tied to tourism".

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