MAY 18, 2010 — Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) President Carol Dover met with British Petroleum (BP) Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward on May 17 to personally thank him and Florida Governor Charlie Crist for working toward the funding of a $25 million advertising campaign for the Sunshine State.
The $25 million grant will be directed toward the state’s official marketing office, VISIT FLORIDA, to implement a multimedia campaign aimed primarily to encourage tourists to book and re-book their hotel and vacation plans in Northwest Florida during the upcoming Memorial Day through Labor Day holiday season. Carol Dover spoke to Tony Hayward directly to discuss the impact to FRLA member properties, particularly in the Panhandle area, and the potential of the spill washing ashore in The Keys.
“Our beaches are beautiful. No oil has washed ashore. Seafood is safe to eat, and charter fishing boats are running daily,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “This marketing campaign will allow for us to inform millions of tourists that Florida is open for business.”
Florida has 46,000 restaurants statewide, with over 3,200 in the Northwest Florida region. The state also has over 8,000 hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals – over 1,000 in the region alone, representing over 80,000 rooms.
FRLA has hosted several press conferences and briefings with tourism industry leaders to enforce the message that Florida is open for business. Affected hoteliers and restaurateurs are encouraged to contact the BP Claims Hotline at 800.440.0858 immediately to begin the claims process.