Florida to offer seven themed itineraries

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Visit Florida, the state's public-private tourism promotion concern, will offer seven themed itineraries for visitors who want to pursue special interests, according to Kerri Post, the organization's director of new product marketing.

There will be programs of up to four days for self-drive tourists, including those who use bikes and canoes for part or all of their trips, she said. The itineraries will be introduced in January.

The themed itineraries, researched and plotted out by Mary Mitchell, a former Travel Weekly contributing editor, first will be added to Visit Florida's Web site [www.flausa.com]. Printed brochures will be available.

The resources listed, such as local tourist organizations, will be useful in determining what accommodations, dining and other services are found in areas that may be outside the larger cities, Post said.

The itineraries, accompanied by photos and a listing of resources for more destination information, will cover these themes: African-American Heritage Trail, Cuban Heritage Trail, Native American Indian Trail, Canoeing, Birding, Biking and Antiques & Museums. All eight tourist regions of Florida will be included in one or more of the itineraries.

Bird-watching opportunities are so numerous statewide that Post envisions the need for two sets of itineraries.

Additional itineraries are being considered for 2000. Themes under consideration are Art & Architecture, Literary Florida (focusing, for example, on the home of author Marjorie Kinan Rawlings, who lived outside Gainesville), Air & Space (focusing on the Kennedy Space Center and attractions such as the Flights of Fantasy, near Orlando), Florida Gardens, Agriculture, Horticulture (including working ranches) and Auto Racing.

Live stage productions, which abound in Florida, remain another possibility for a tie-in focusing on cultural attractions, Post said.

When the itineraries are available for distribution in printed form, agents will be able to request them by calling (888) 6-FLAUSA, Visit Florida's toll-free phone line.

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