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Visit Florida launches a post-Hurricane Ian campaign to lure vacationers to the state

Tampa Riverwalk 3 091119 Thomas Iacobucci.jpg
Thomas Iacobucci
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WUSF Public Media
The Tampa Riverwalk is seen in 2019. Florida’s tourism-marketing agency has put together a promotional campaign, with an initial cost of about $2.7 million, to highlight parts of the state not ravaged by Hurricane Ian.

The campaign features locations across the state — including Tampa — that were not largely affected by Hurricane Ian.

Florida’s tourism-marketing agency has put together a promotional campaign, with an initial cost of about $2.7 million, to highlight parts of the state not ravaged by Hurricane Ian.

The Visit Florida campaign, which will run on digital and social-media platforms through the end of October, shows recent footage from 14 parts of the state with the message, “Sun’s Shining in Florida.”

Visit Florida Chairman Greg Cook, the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, said in a prepared statement that the “new marketing plan will help amplify the message that we are still open for business and that we stand ready to help our Southwest Florida partners as soon as they are ready.”

The agency paused its marketing efforts as the Category 4 hurricane made landfall Sept. 28 in Lee and Charlotte counties and crossed the state.

The agency quickly recorded images from Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Tallahassee, Amelia Island, St. Augustine and the Florida Keys for the new campaign.

“Our marketing programs will help protect Florida’s tourism brand and demonstrate to visitors that Florida offers infinite vacation options,” Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young said in a statement Thursday.

Visit Florida has similarly worked to offset past negative media coverage from hurricanes and issues such as the Zika virus and algae blooms.

Visit Florida also is working on plans for areas recovering from the storm, with those efforts “ready for implementation when they are ready to welcome visitors.”

During a roundtable discussion Wednesday with Gov. Ron DeSantis, Marty Harrity, owner of Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille in Sanibel, stressed the need to rebuild so the area can again attract tourists.

“We’re an economy that depends on tourism, and we’ve got to get the people back here,” Harrity said.

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