Internet Travel Monitor - Industry News

March 1, 2017

Lawmakers Battle Over Future of Visit Florida Tourism Department

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran released an amendment to a bill which would allow the Visit Florida tourism department to remain open, but have its funding cut by two-thirds.

In addition, the new amendment has a list of conditions attached.

According to CBS Miami, Corcoran’s amendment is expected to go before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday and would result in the end of Enterprise Florida and a massive cut to the Visit Florida tourism department.

While Visit Florida would still receive $25 million if the bill amendment passes, the department would have to agree to accountability and transparency measures to avoid a similar situation to the one that saw rapper Pitbull get paid $1 million for his participation in an ad campaign.

The numbers offered in the amendment are well below Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for $85 million that would go to Enterprise Florida and $76 million that would go to Visit Florida.

“The Florida House is proposing a 67 percent cut to tourism marketing. More than a million Florida families rely on jobs in our tourism industry and are threatened with this massive cut,” Gov. Rick Scott’s Communications Director Jackie Schutz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, some politicians in the Florida House think fighting for jobs is simply hysteria and don't understand that jobs are not expendable to families who have to put food on the table. Governor Scott believes in transparency and accountability for any taxpayer dollars used, and that is why he has demanded changes and brought in new leadership at Visit Florida.”

In response to the amendment, State Representative Joe Gruters introduced a new proposal that intends to reform both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida without eliminating or cutting funding from the departments.

“A lot of people, including some that voted against (HB 7005), said they wanted to talk about reforming the system,” Gruters told CBS Miami. “People want this arm of the government to continue on. This makes everything more accountable and in line with other (state) agencies.”

Copyright 2017 travAlliancemedia™. All rights reserved. From By Donald Wood.
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