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A Semblance of Sanity Returns to Florida

6SRfIn-bMy presentation this morning to the Annual Conference of the Missouri Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus in beautiful St. Charles focused on the increasing challenges created by the politicization and weaponization of Tourism. Naturally, we spent time discussing the insanity that has gripped the Florida legislature in their frothy anger at being told "no" by the former CEO of Visit Florida.

Within the past week, the Governor and the heads of both legislative chambers announced a deal to restore Visit Florida funding...albeit with some troubling changes to existing grant programs and oversight. But, the new Visit Florida CEO acknowledged that he could live with the changes and, earlier today, both the Senate and House committees dealing with a new bill voted to restore Visit Florida funding.

According to an e-mail received within the last hour from our friend Robert Skrob, the CEO of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, "Both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee passed bills recognizing the need for fully funding Visit Florida at $76 million.  There are a number of differences in the bills that must be negotiated as the bills move through Special Session."

It certainly ain't over yet, folks...and the example the Speaker of the House has set for his peers around the country will likely be repeated in other locales. But the future of Florida's Tourism Industry isn't nearly as bleak as it was last month.

And, thanks to MACVB for the invitation to hang with old and new DMO friends and industry partners, sharing thoughts and laughs over the past few days. We can't wait to return!

 

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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