The Florida legislature has fully restored funding to Visit Florida, ending a tumultuous five months for the state's tourism-marketing organization. In early May, Florida lawmakers passed a state budget that cut Visit Florida's budget by 67% budget, to $25 million.
Gov. Rick Scott, an ardent supporter of Visit Florida, vetoed the cut, and called a special session last week to negotiate the budget, which resulted in restoring the group's $76 million budget, among other changes.
"We've fully funded Visit Florida so we can continue to break visitation records," Scott said in a statement. He called the result of the session "a major win for Florida families."
As expected, Visit Florida's restored funding comes with added transparency and accountability reforms. Visit Florida's problems began last year when it was revealed that it had paid rapper Pitbull $1 million to promote the state, leading to the resignation of the group's CEO in January. Florida House speaker Richard Corcoran, a Republican, called for the elimination of the group.
Scott campaigned relentlessly in support of the state's tourism-marketing arm, citing record-breaking visitation numbers for the past five years.
In 2015, Florida became the first U.S. state to welcome more than 100 million visitors in a single year, with that number increasing in 2016 to 112.8 million.
Source: Travel Weekly