New Logo Touted as International Symbol of Florida

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By Ernest Blum

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The Florida tourism industry unveiled a rainbow-colored logo featuring the letters "FLA" set atop "USA" that officials hope will become as recognizable as "I Love New York" or the Nike "swoosh."

"We expect the logo to capture worldwide attention and recognition, and to represent state tourism for many years," said Austin Mott, chief executive officer of Visit Florida Inc., the new name of the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corp. The logo and the name change are among moves designed "to keep Florida on top of the tourism industry," Mott said.

Atlanta-based Battle Enterprises will license the logo to clothing manufacturers, with a royalty of 6% of the wholesale price going to Visit Florida. Bill Battle, the firm's head, said, "Florida is the first state to actively market its brand on an organized basis," referring to a series of marketing steps the state is taking to promote the new logo.

At a fashion show held during the 30th Governor's Conference on Tourism here, actor Chevy Chase and several models wore caps, sport shirts and blouses sporting the logo. Clothing featuring the colorful design has been shipped to 355 stores at seven state airports.

The logo was created by New York-based Landor Associates, whose travel industry clients include Varig Airlines, Royal Caribbean International, Hyatt and ITT Sheraton's Four Points chain. According to Mott, the state's tourism agency paid $373,000 for the development of the design, which will be used in a variety of applications, including advertising, corporate identity and partner affiliation.

In addition, the expanded Florida Vacation Guide, which debuts in January, will carry the logo.

The state's 24-hour, live fulfillment service secured the toll-free number (888) 7FLAUSA. The state's Web site, which also uses the logo, was given a new address on the Web, http://www.flausa.com.

As for renaming the state's promotion agency, the FTIMC was changed to Visit Florida Inc. because the acronym proved to be unwieldy and difficult to memorize, officials said. Although the new name is being adopted immediately, the change will not become official until action by the FTIMC's board at a meeting next month.

Florida topped 43 million visitors last year, he said, and hopes to reach 50 million annually before the turn of the century.

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