Continuing his focus on promoting Florida's tourism industry and its economic impact, Governor Rick Scott thanked the Florida Legislature today for increasing state funding for VISIT FLORIDA by 55 percent. Funding for Florida's official tourism marketing organization will total $54 million during the fiscal year beginning on July 1, compared to $34.9 million in Fiscal Year 2011-12.
"To keep Florida in the front of travelers' minds, VISIT FLORIDA is constantly fine-tuning our tourism marketing to attract business travelers and vacationers from around the world," Governor Scott said. "This investment is good for Florida taxpayers because for every dollar spent on tourism marketing, VISIT FLORIDA generates $177 in tourism spending and $11 in new sales tax collections."
During a visit today to the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management in Orlando, Governor Scott also signed House Bill 1001, relating to timeshares.
"As visitors enjoy their vacation and business travel to Florida, it is only natural for them to want to figure out ways to keep coming back, and timeshares can be a way for vacationers to keep returning to our state," said Governor Scott. "Unfortunately, several scams involving timeshare marketers eroded investors' confidence in the timeshare system."
Attorney General Pam Bondi's office received nearly 7,000 complaints during a nine-month period last year, more than all other consumer-related complaints combined. The most common complaints included false claims that the marketer had a specific buyer ready to purchase or rent the timeshare, unkept promises that the property would be rented within a certain period of time, and failure to honor cancellation policies.
"This legislation will cut down on timeshare fraud and protect owners from unscrupulous resale companies," Governor Scott said. "As we fight this fraud, integrity will come back into the system, and people can feel more confident investing in Florida, and in the timeshare market."
Governor Scott thanked Representative Eric Eisnaugle and Senator Andy Gardiner for working to pass the legislation and commended Representative Mike Horner, who leads the Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Committee, for his work to increase VISIT FLORIDA funding.
About Florida Tourism
As the state's No. 1 industry, tourism is crucial to Florida's economy -- generating 23 percent of the state's sales tax revenue and employing more than one million Floridians.
In 2011, tourism was responsible for welcoming 86.5 million visitors to Florida and generated $67.2 billion in direct economic impact.
VISITFLORIDA.com is the No. 1 trafficked state destination marketing organization website in the country.
For every dollar spent on tourism marketing, VISIT FLORIDA generates $177 in tourism spending and $11 in new sales tax collections.
VISIT FLORIDA's vision is to establish Florida as the No. 1 travel destination in the world.
Every 85 visitors supports one Florida job, which means a growing tourism industry equates to increasing employment and a stronger economy.