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Florida’s tourism arm is touting marketing efforts that attracted an increase in travelers from America’s northern neighbor, less than a year after admitting the state had taken its Canadian visitors for granted.

Visit Florida Facebook page

Just months after seeing the budget for the state tourism marketing agency cut to $75 million amid a cantankerous political fight, Gov. Rick Scott is asking again for a major boost.

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.

Gov. Rick Scott wants to do away with bonuses for employees at the state's tourism and business-recruitment agencies, at least for now.

After fighting with the Legislature earlier this year to keep the agencies funded, Scott on Thursday rejected the bonuses “at this time.”

Scott sent a letter to members of the boards of directors at Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida outlining his opposition to the employee rewards.

Visit Florida Facebook page

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

Florida Aquarium

Governor Rick Scott was in Tampa Tuesday to unveil Florida's latest tourism numbers and he used the Florida Aquarium as the backdrop to his announcement.

Scott said an estimated 60.7 million tourists came to Florida during the first six months of the year. That's a 4.1 percent increase over the same time period in 2016.

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.


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.


Visit Florida's Vice President Steps Down

Jun 29, 2017

Vice President of Florida’s tourism agency, Alfredo Gonzalez is stepping down. Spokesman Stephen Lawson says Visit Florida’s current President, Ken Lawson will lead the organization forward.

Despite some early hiccups, Florida’s Republican legislative leaders are agreeing to a handful of the governor’s priorities.  But the House and Senate had to secure wins of their own in last week’s special session before heading home.

‘Stand Your Ground’ Among Bills Sent To Scott

Jun 6, 2017

The Florida Senate on Monday sent to Gov. Rick Scott the remaining 24 Senate bills passed during the 2017 session, including a major higher-education package and legislation to revamp part of the “stand your ground” self-defense law.

Governor Rick Scott is catching some serious heat for shooting a Visit Florida ad in a Washington, D.C. studio.

Visit Florida is fighting for economic survival the only way it knows how, through a marketing campaign.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, widely considered a GOP gubernatorial frontrunner, is warning Florida lawmakers not to scale back marketing efforts.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is now calling for $100 million dollars in tourism money—almost 25 percent more than he outlined in his spending plan early this year.  

House Speaker Richard Corcoran got his bills, and he got enough Democrats to build a veto-proof majority.  The lower chamber has approved legislation to scale back Visit Florida and eliminate Enterprise Florida.

It appears a one million dollar contract could cost Visit Florida much, much more.  The House is moving forward with a plan to cut the agency’s funding by two thirds and establish more stringent oversight.

The Florida legislative session has begun, which means it’s time to get serious about the state’s budget.  But the past few months of prologue have done little to bring the parties together.

Gov. Rick Scott took his fight for business incentives directly to critics Tuesday, using his "State of the State" address to defend requests for tens of millions of dollars to lure companies to Florida and to market the state's tourism industry.

MyFloridaHouse.gov

Governor Rick Scott kicked off Florida's 2017 legislative session with his annual State of the State Address. This week on Florida Matters we're re-broadcasting portions of the governor's speech, which aired live on WUSF 89.7.


The war between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Governor Rick Scott over corporate tax breaks appears to be claiming another casualty.

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.

LinkedIn

The St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to let state lawmakers know they support Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.

Florida’s Governor and House leaders are at each other’s throats over funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.  Murmurs are growing louder lawmakers will need a special session to agree on a budget.  Both sides are digging in, and the battle lines are becoming clear in a recent letter.

Gov. Rick Scott has been on a very visible tour of the state recently, painting efforts to pare back on some of his programs as potential job-killers. WUSF's Steve Newborn looks at those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

The Florida House appears ready to take its incentives fight with Governor Rick Scott into the legislative session.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is crisscrossing the state calling out lawmakers by name for voting to gut two state agencies.

The speaker of the Florida House is trying to end funding for Visit Florida. He's claiming that the state's tourism marketing effort isn't having any noticeable impact on the number of visitors to the state.

But is it? WUSF's Steve Newborn runs the numbers by Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

Carson Frame / WUSF News

Governor Rick Scott’s campaign to save the Visit Florida tourism marketing agency and Enterprise Florida’s business incentive program came to Tampa Monday. A House committee voted to eliminate both of the public-private partnerships last week.

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.

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