MIAMI -- Austin Mott, president and chief executive officer of
Visit Florida, said the state continues to face increasing
competition, both domestic and from abroad.
Mott's remarks were made to a record 940 members of Florida's
tourism industry at the 33rd annual Governor's Conference on
To meet the challenges, Florida will identify and target more
niche markets, including the African-American and Hispanic-American
travel markets, he said.
In the latter markets, Visit Florida will begin frequent
tracking of Hispanic-American travel to the state in order to gauge
the effectiveness of new marketing programs.
Visit Florida is the public-private partnership that is in its
fourth year of promoting tourism to Florida.
After a year in which the state was host to a record of nearly
50 million visitors, Visit Florida executives said they expected to
set another record this year.
Agency officials said last year's advertising campaign, mounted
by Fahlgren Benito of Tampa, Fla., would be continued but expanded
The ad schedule through next June includes consumer travel and
general interest publications as well as those read by
African-Americans, Hispanics and Europeans (such as those in the
U.K. and Germany).
Last year, Visit Florida's budget reached $14.2 million in
advertising equivalency value, according to the agency, involving
regional, national and international media outlets.
Visit Florida officials estimate that their own budget is
matched sevenfold by industry-contributed products.
The domestic campaign includes Florida's top 29 origin markets
as well as regional drive markets and the in-state market.
Basically, all of these markets are east of the Mississippi
Nature-heritage tourism is another major focus that will play an
increasingly important role in the state's promotional efforts, he