FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Although the Internet accounts for a
growing share of travel sales to Florida, travel agents still
dominate the way travel to the state is sold, said Frank "Bud"
Nocera, Visit Florida's executive vice president and chief
Addressing several hundred executives from private-sector travel
partners who support Visit Florida with dues, Nocera said that in
spite of impressive growth in Internet travel marketing, much of
the business is generated by traditional travel agencies rather
than by e-commerce companies.
Nocera, who at one time was a travel agent himself, observed
that "a large number of sites thought of as 'e-commerce sites' are
really travel agencies that have closed their doors and are taking
bookings over the Internet."
Nocera said that with 56% of the U.S. public on line, the
importance of printed brochures and collateral materials is
declining as consumers turn to the Internet for information.
Addressing fears about the possibility of an economic recession,
Nocera voiced the conviction that "Florida would be one of the last
destinations to be affected.
"If a recession comes," he said, "people will think about
staying close to home and downsizing the length of a stay, while
still thinking about taking a vacation."
He added, "We're still doing very well," with Canadian business
turning up sharply and other traditional markets continuing
Californians who were introduced to Florida on cruises, are
beginning to discover the rest of the state's offerings and
represent a new market, he said.
Nocera said it is expected that the state will report that
arrivals in 2000 topped Florida's record 59.7 million overnight
visitors in 1999.
Visit Florida, as the state's public-private travel marketing
organization, also is seeking to expand arrivals by focusing on
niche markets, he said,
Citing the state's research into lifestyle trends, Nocera
reported that visitors are increasingly turning from "homogenized"
to niche products as they seek to indulge specialized interests,
much of it on the spur of the moment.
Other trends are "hybrid travel," such as combining business
In addition, there is an increasing amount of travel without
In contrast, more older adults are traveling with
Visit Florida budget facts
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Visit Florida's $21.6 million basic budget
for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000, came from a share of the
daily surcharge on car rental transactions, as authorized by the
On top of that,Visit Florida cleared $43.1 million from a
combination of dues payments by private sector partner concerns,
contributions for co-op ads, trade show earnings and free
advertising space provided by various media.
The total budget for the current fiscal year is not yet