2017 Florida Tourism Day in Tallahassee Recognizes State’s No. 1 Industry

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Tourism leaders are set to gather in Tallahassee for Florida Tourism Day on Tuesday, March, 14, 2017. Each year, the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism hosts the event to educate the legislature, media and Floridians on the significant role tourism plays in the success of our state’s economy. This year, Florida Tourism Day anticipates nearly 600 industry attendees.

Per VISIT FLORIDA, in 2016 Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming the highest number of visitors in the state’s history with 112.8 million visitors. This is the sixth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 106.6 million in 2015 by 5.9 percent.

Ten statewide organizations are scheduled to participate in the 2017 Florida Tourism Day event and will host a downtown nighttime celebration that is open to the public at a cost of $15.00 per person for food, beverages, and entertainment. The street party begins at 5:00 PM at the corner of Adams Street and College Avenue will feature Billy Dean, Chloe Channell and Jason Pritchett playing at the outdoor event. Find a list of vendors and more details here.

Participating organizations include: Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Florida Association of Museums, Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, Florida Attractions Association, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Florida Sports Foundation, Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, U.S. Travel Association and VISIT FLORIDA.

“Florida Tourism Day is an opportunity for industry leaders to highlight the pivotal role that tourism plays in our state’s economic growth. During this year’s event, the industry is celebrating six years of consecutive, record-breaking visitation growth with recent announcement of 112.8 million visitors in 2016. These numbers clearly demonstrate the power of tourism marketing and it’s essential that our lawmakers continue to invest in the state’s number one industry. Not only do our hotels and restaurants rely on tourist spending to support their employees, the overall health of Florida’s economy depends on visitors selecting the Sunshine State as their leading destination,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“At VISIT FLORIDA, we are focused on increasing the value we provide to Floridians by enhancing transparency and accountability at our organization. With Florida tourism breaking more records in 2016, it has never been more important to successfully market our state and remain competitive across the globe. We look forward to continuing to communicate that Florida is the world’s No. 1 travel destination,” said Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. 

“For many Floridians, tourism represents much more than an industry; it’s a livelihood. One job is supported for every 76 visitors to our state. As a partner in the 2017 Florida Tourism Day event, the Florida Attractions Association aims to shed light on the positive economic impact of our state’s diverse attractions,” said Bill Lupfer, President and CEO of the Florida Attractions Association.

“Thanks to VISIT FLORIDA’S strong and successful marketing efforts, Florida has seen record growth in the number of visitors coming to the State. This growth has had a direct positive impact on The Florida RV Park and Campground Industry. RV Park and Campground owners from all over Florida are also experiencing a record number of guests visiting their properties and for the first time in many years they are hiring new employees and expanding their parks to meet the demand. There is no question that tourism and a strong VISIT FLORIDA is the key to continued economic growth in Florida,” said Bobby Cornwell, President and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

“Every day, cities and counties across our state benefit from the tourism marketing efforts of Florida’s destination marketing organizations and VISIT FLORIDA. That’s why it is so important for Florida to protect the current uses of the Tourist Development Tax and maintain VISIT FLORIDA’s funding,” said Robert Skrob, Executive Director of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations.

“With growing visitation numbers and tourism-related employment, it’s clear that tourism and tourism marketing are major economic drivers for Florida. The Florida Association of Museums looks forward to another year of increased visitation, visitor spending and job creation in the tourism industry,” said Malinda Horton, Executive Director of the Florida Association of Museums.

“Sports and recreation represent a $57 billion industry in Florida, attracting over 16 million out-of-state visitors each year. We are major contributors to Florida’s tourism industry, and I am excited to join with other industry leaders to recognize and celebrate the positive impact that tourism has on our state year-round,” said John Webb, President of the Florida Sports Foundation.

“The Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association is proud to advocate for Florida’s No. 1 industry through the 2017 Florida Tourism Day event participation. By promoting the importance of tourism and hospitality as well as the tremendous economic impact realized by communities statewide, we can help protect Florida’s economy and the 1.4 million Floridians employed by the tourism industry,” said Denis Hanks, Executive Director of the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association.

“Food is a big part of the travel experience, and Florida cattle ranchers are dedicated to making sure the highest-quality beef is produced in a sustainable way. The 2016 Florida Tourism Day event allows us to bring attention to Florida’s cattle industry, which is among the 10 largest in the nation, making it a top industry for our state alongside tourism,” said Jim Handley, Executive Director of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.

“Florida Tourism Day always gives travel leaders from across the state a chance to celebrate how our industry strengthens the Florida economy and creates more than 1.4 million jobs. But this year bears even more significance, because it is a day to send a strong message of ‘no’ to lawmakers who propose drastically reducing the state’s investment in tourism marketing. By coming to Tallahassee in great numbers, we will show elected officials how many small, family-owned businesses and their employees will feel the greatest impact from a major funding cut to VISIT FLORIDA,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association