Florida House plans to slash spending for Visit Florida, which could undo years of marketing and Florida tourism efforts
The Florida Keys might feel the effects of a bill in the Florida legislature that would severely limit the state's promotion of Florida tourism. Representatives in the House want to drain funds from the 62 tourist development councils in the county and cut off state support for Visit Florida, a tourism marketing agency. But local tourist authorities are warning that the proposed modifications will undermine the efforts the agency made last year to boost Florida tourism after the pandemic.
About the Florida House bill
The House has revealed a bill to slash state financing for Visit Florida, a non-profit marketing organization established in 1996. The bill would require counties to pay a portion of their TDT collections to Visit Florida for the next three years.
At the end of the three years, the county commissions can decide whether to donate to Visit Florida using locally earned Florida tourism tax revenues. However, they can choose to save money for themselves and not contribute to the marketing effort. Each county would also have to hold a vote every six years to keep collecting their Florida tourism development taxes.
How it affects the Florida tourism industry
After receiving a favorable recommendation from the subcommittee on March 28, the bill has a good chance of being approved by the entire House later this month. But, the law may have a tough time passing, considering the budget plans from both houses and the governor. Visit Florida was not included in the proposed House budget that was unveiled last month. Nonetheless, the Senate approved an $80 million expenditure while Governor DeSantis allotted $100 million in his budget plan.
If Visit Florida's budget drops below a specified level or if it receives any financing from the state, the organization might be liquidated. CEO of the Marathon Chamber of Commerce Dan Samess warns that the bill will have a negative impact on the local tourism industry.
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