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This is How You Ruin Participation by the Best and Brightest

Visit-florida-partnerIn its zeal to appeal to voters who have been persuaded that Destination Marketing is nothing more than corporate welfare for fat cats, the Florida Legislature has dealt a stinging body blow to its Destination Marketing Organization, Visit Florida.

While the agency escaped threatened cuts to its budget (and, indeed, elimination), the new policies under which it and its funding partners must operate has resulted in a scenario where 11 local DMOs have now disaffiliated from the mothership, damaging the efforts of all 12. In the deal to deliver full funding to the State DMO, Visit Florida member DMOs with operating budgets made up of over 50% public money (that would be most, if not all) would be required to disclose salaries of employees and Board Members.

Board Members? Really?

That sound you just heard was 11 DMOs saying "hell no" and disaffiliating from the program. 

That sound you are about to hear is the best and brightest Board Members of DMOs that don't opt-out pushing back from the table and finding something else to do with their volunteer time. 

DMOs need Board members who are successful and influential. Those individuals aren't going to stand for State bureaucrats riffling through their finances (not that anyone should).

On one hand, this could be just a ham-handed way of politicians attempting to insert envy and jealousy into the relationship between DMOs and their constituents. But, I'm more of the mind that this was a calculated move to weaken the influence of DMO Boards altogether by making it untenable for the best and brightest to continue to serve.

While it will hurt everyone involved (except the politicians, unless the electorate becomes sophisticated enough to un-elect them), bravo to the 11 for standing up for what is right.

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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