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florida tourism

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Bolstered by U.S. and Canadian tourists, Florida’s visitor count continued at a record pace through the second quarter of 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said Thursday.

For well over a year, visitors to Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast beaches have found dead fish lining the shoreline. A red tide algae bloom afflicted coastal communities from Florida's Panhandle to its southern tip. But in the past few weeks, monitoring conducted by marine scientists shows that the red tide bloom is finally disappearing.

Red tide blooms occur when a microscopic alga, Karenia brevis, proliferates in a higher than normal concentration. When concentrations are high enough, toxic chemicals released by the algae can affect marine life and people.

The business community in Florida is monitoring the Brexit turmoil across the pond.

 

This week, British lawmakers rejected a deal to leave the European Union. The United Kingdom is facing a March 29 deadline without a clear direction.

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Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis on Friday named an ardent opponent of Medicaid expansion to lead the state Agency for Health Care Administration and backed former state Sen. Dana Young to lead the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida.

Kristen Hare

The holidays are coming up, and a new book shows that Tampa Bay area residents don't have to go too far to get a vacation experience.  

The Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce reports businesses on the two islands lost $19 million in just July and August. Thursday, US Senator Bill Nelson met with business owners to talk about solutions. 

Hundreds of opponents of offshore oil drilling gathered at Florida beaches and held hands.

Tourists at Clearwater Beach.
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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.

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Florida is a step closer to living up to its nickname as "The Sunshine State."

Republicans Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) are pushing back against local ordinances that regulate vacation rentals. The battle for home rule is heating up at the capitol.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is touting a record tourism despite a challenging Hurricane season.

VisitFlorida.com

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, is filing a lawsuit to stop what he calls an illegal tax being charged by the city of Tampa.

The Republican legislator announced the lawsuit on Thursday. The lawsuit is part of a series of moves Corcoran announced to go after local economic development and local tourism marketing agencies.

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

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.

Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia)

Attracting more than 120 million visitors before the end of the calendar year remains a goal of the state's tourism-marketing arm, now that Visit Florida's funding won't be slashed.

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday requested the resignation of the state's tourism-marketing leader amid a controversy over an expired $1 million contract with a Miami hip-hop artist whom the governor praised for his "devotion to our great state."

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.

Visit Tampa Bay

While Britain continues dealing with the fallout of its vote to leave the European Union, tourism experts are looking at the possible effects the decision will have on tourism here in Florida.

The M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation at USF Sarasota-Manatee hosted an online panel discussion on the subject Wednesday.

Carrie Caignet

It’s the height of summer and there’s no better time to share your memories of Florida's roadside attractions. This week, WUSF’s Florida Matters is taking a look at some classic places that don’t fit the definition of modern theme parks. And it’s made us take a look back.

Record Number Of Tourists Flocking To Florida

Feb 18, 2016
Walt Disney World entrance.
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The number of tourists flocking to Florida has grown to a record number. And it's a big one.

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Visit Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is experiencing a tourism boom, with a 13 percent increase in outside visitors. New figures show the industry brought in $329 million in taxes during the last year alone.  With $30 million being brought in from outside profits during the last fiscal year, the city is reaping the benefits of its many facelift projects.

The last time Erik Paul took a Caribbean cruise out of PortMiami, getting off the ship took well over an hour.

The lines clearing immigration in the port were backed up, and there was such general chaos that Paul's mother got into a heated argument with a purser when she insisted on getting off the Carnival ship before she was called.

Exploring Miami Beach one recent afternoon, Swiss tourists Adrian Cannistra and Shkunte Mustafa said they considered vacationing on a beach closer to home before booking the lengthy overseas flight.

Greece might have been ideal — with the financial crisis, bargains can be had and many Swiss are taking advantage. Cannistra has vacationed in Tunisia but said recent terrorist attacks there scared him away from North Africa.

"The Swiss don't go there anymore," he said. "They're afraid."

Visit Florida is teaming up with a popular television show for an advertising campaign and pet photo contest. The winner walks away with a $10,000 trip to Florida. But, state officials are banking on the program creating a return on investment in the form of tourism.


Photo courtesy csb.gov

It's been nearly five years since the explosion and oil spill on the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon. On Monday, a diverse group of environmentalists got together to talk about the lingering environmental effects.

Leaders from the Florida Wildlife Federation held a news conference at the Florida Aquarium to propose using potential BP settlement money for Gulf restoration projects. The speakers represented local fishermen, coastal residents and environmental experts from around the area.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Sometimes the best partnerships are the ones made out of mutual need – take the new arrangement between USF Sarasota-Manatee and the Resort at Longboat Key Club.

Florida had a record number of visitors during this past spring.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that 24 million tourists visited the state during the second quarter of 2014.

That's a three percent jump over the same time period a year ago, and the largest second quarter ever for the state.

Since 2009, Florida has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors to the Sunshine State, and has had record tourism numbers. A new study by a non-partisan watchdog group shows Florida may now also be on track to meeting a big milestone: attracting 100 million visitors by 2015.

Will Seccombe is the head of Florida’s tourism agency, Visit Florida. He says there’s no question in his mind that the industry is on a steady upswing—as outlined in a report by Florida TaxWatch.