tourism

Hurricane Irma’s state-engulfing radar signature and widespread damage will be a hard image to shake, but tourism experts say Florida’s biggest industry will rebound.

Wikimedia Commons

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, tourism-related businesses are preparing for a potentially catastrophic impact.

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Florida's tourism marketing agency paid nearly $441,000 in employee bonuses this summer despite months of scrutiny from legislators over spending.

Photo: ucobserver.org

The number of tourists visiting Florida continues to grow.

Mary Shedden / WUSF Public Media

Tourism brought in an estimated $109 billion a year to Florida at last count. This week on Florida Matters we’re taking a look at the current state of Florida’s number one industry.


Renata Sago / WMFE

A record 43.1 million passengers passed through Orlando International Airport in the past year. The latest data show domestic travel climbed 5.95 percent, with more than 37 million people moving through the airport. International traffic also grew to 5.7 million passengers, a 4.45 percent increase from a year ago.

Visit Florida Facebook page

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the latest in tourism. The state's number one industry was at the center of a battle during this past legislative session.


Florida Surpasses Texas In Airport Passengers

Jul 18, 2017
Tampa International Airport

Gov. Rick Scott spent the past week touting the state's move ahead of Texas in the overall number of passengers boarding airplanes.

Scott Signs Economic Development, School Funding BIlls

Jun 27, 2017
Office of the Governor

Gov. Rick Scott signed 29 bills late Monday, including measures boosting spending on education, tourism marketing and economic development.

Marc Haze / WUSF News

It's that time of year to hit the beach and soak up some rays, but in some areas erosion means there's not a lot of places to build a sand castle.

A bill awaiting Gov. Scott's signature - or possible veto - would mean $50 million for beach renourishment. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about whether that funding is enough to tackle the issue of beach erosion across the state.


A new study shows shark-related diving in Florida is a growing business, generating some $221 million annually for shops and other providers.

One of the big debates taking shape this legislative session is about state involvement in economic development. The capitol’s powerbrokers are picking sides in the battle, which is threatening to derail session before it even begins.

Bay News 9

Florida had another record-setting year for tourism despite natural disasters, a virus outbreak and a tragic attack on an Orlando nightclub.

Wikimedia Commons

Walt Disney World is increasing single-day tickets at certain times of the year and setting expiration dates on tickets in hopes of preventing overcrowding during its parks' busiest times.

The Florida House is tightening the noose around two state agencies.  The idea faces high hurdles in the Senate and the governor’s mansion, but the fight sets the stage for big cuts as lawmakers develop spending plans.

amagill / Flickr

Florida's embattled tourism agency handed out multimillion dollar contracts to a federal partnership run by a former agency executive and for a cooking show with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse after outrage for the state's secret $1 million deal with rapper Pitbull.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

You can hear the National Championship Fanfest before you ever get a glimpse of the flashing lights, huge video screens and brightly colored banners.

It’s just a ride up the escalator to second floor of the Tampa Convention Center and then a step into the cavernous hall where your instantly blasted by the musical rhythms coming from the Dance Off stage.

@pitbull / Twitter

Rapper Pitbull released his $1 million contract with Florida's tourism marketing agency two days after the House speaker sued to find out details of the agreement.

Pitbull used Twitter to make the contract public on Thursday. He tweeted "*FULL DISCLOSURE – FLORIDA*" with a link to the 11-page agreement.

Two hurricanes, a Zika outbreak and the nation’s worst mass shooting aren’t putting a dent in Florida’s biggest industry.

Courtesy of Visit Tampa Bay

Never mind the hurricanes and the Zika that have come to Florida. Santiago Corrada, the CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, says it's been a banner year for tourism in Hillsborough County.

The close of the fiscal year, September 30th, showed record-breaking numbers and he's waiting to see how the calendar year ends.  Corrada says if the tourism agency hits the mark it expects to then, which is $600 million in taxable hotel revenue, it will mean yet another record and a special designation.

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