TALLAHASSEE, Fla -- Visit Florida plans to promote more
off-the-beaten-path travel, according to chief operating officer
Nocera, a former travel agent, said the itineraries will provide
new ideas for operators to include in their tour offerings.
These itineraries can be found in a new "Worth the Drive"
booklet and on Visit Florida's Web site at www.flausa.com.
"Although the traditional assets of climate, beaches and theme
parks will always have a place in our marketing strategy, we are
aggressively positioning Florida as an incredibly diversified
destination, offering many kinds of experiences for visitors to
enjoy," he said.
"Given the growing popularity of nature-based, historical and
cultural tourism, this just makes good sense," he added.
"It encourages more visitors to extend their stays and increases
the number of places they visit while in Florida, particularly in
places not historically frequented by visitors."
At the Travel South show, March 10 to 14 in New Orleans, Sharon
McDonald, group leisure sales representative, and Joyce Stillwell,
leisure sales manager, will spread the word about the state's
Nocera said Visit Florida's Web site was the first state tourism
site to include a comprehensive and continuously updated inventory
of natural, historical and cultural assets.
Over the next year, he said, the Web site will become more
interactive and lifestyle-based, enabling travel agents and
consumers alike to book travel according to personal interests and
Nocera said that visitor growth this year and next will result
from the effective targeting of nongeographic visitor segments.
"We see growth potential in affluent American travelers, in
continuing our targeting of African-American and Hispanic-American
travelers and increasing our outreach to travelers who enjoy
nature-based activities and small towns as part of their overall
trip," he said.
Marketing by lifestyle will play an increasingly important role
in Visit Florida's promotional efforts, Nocera added.
"This year, we have done focus groups and surveys to determine
the attitudes of resident Floridians toward tourism and surveyed
the state's rural counties to help us customize marketing programs
[on their behalf]." he said.
"We have offered fams highlighting many of Florida's
off-the-beaten-path areas," Nocera noted.
Visit Florida also is introducing tour operators to areas of the
state that have not been packaged previously.
For example, it conducted a tour of northwest Florida for a
group of U.K. operators in September.
"Visit Florida continues to be proactive in working with
operators and supporting their needs. We are very involved in tour
operator associations as well as several state bus associations,"
For information, call (850) 488-5607 or (888) 6-FLAUSA.