As reported in The Travel Vertical last week, the original version of the bill would have eliminated Visit Florida. However, it was amended this week to put the agency under strict transparency and accountability rules.
It also sets Visit Florida funding at $25 million, a 67 percent reduction, and lower than the 2011 budget. Since then, Visit Florida’s funding was increased to $76 million. In that time, tourism has increased from 86 million visitors to 112 million in 2016, something that officials say proves that Visit Florida’s efforts are working, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.
Annual salaries for Visit Florida staffers would be capped at $130,000, travel expenses and contract spending would have to follow state rules and its CEO would have to be approved by the Senate. Visit Florida board members would be banned from receiving freebies from entities that receive bed tax revenue.
Attendees at next month’s eTourism LABS will hear directly from Will Seccombe, immediate past CEO of Visit Florida, addressing the unforeseen perils of success. Read more about the latest on Visit Florida in Travel Weekly here.