Monday, 20 November, 2017

Florida governor: Tourists still coming in record numbers

Tourists continue to visit Florida in record numbers Rick Scott blasts budget as tourism numbers in Florida rise
Connie Andrews | 16 May, 2017, 07:24

He has hinted he may veto the entire state budget because legislators ignored many of his top priorities this year.

Almost 31.1 million people visited the sunshine state during the first three months of 2017.

The record-setting number of visitors comes as lawmakers cut funding to Visit Florida. Estimates also show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State from January-March. "In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results", he said. That's a 2.5 percent jump over the same time period in 2016. Both are trends that have been underway for more than a year.

In fact, Florida saw a record 31 million tourists in just the first quarter of the year.

"HB 7069 was cooked up behind closed doors to tie popular changes like more recess and minor relief on testing to reducing local school district authority, yet another sketchy teacher bonus scheme, and more financial breaks for charter schools", Joanne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association, said in a statement. Governor Rick Scott has also criticized the Syrian refugee program under the Obama administration that sought to relocate Syrians in Florida.

"With all the attractions in the state and the natural resources that we have here, I believe people are going to continue coming to Florida and visiting Florida".

Visit Florida, which has faced media scrutiny because of some controversial contracts, received $78 million for tourism marketing during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Scott took a jab at the Legislature during his visit to Jungle Island.

"This historic number would not have been possible without the significant funding we have invested in Visit Florida over the past few years", Scott said.

Visit Florida says the lack of funding will make it harder for the state to compete with other tourist destinations like California, and could possibly lead to the state losing billions of dollars in revenue.

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