Tourism Decline Sparks Funding Surge

Osceola County – In a move to put a stop to declining tourism numbers, Osceola County has pledged its support for additional funding to the Visit Florida program.  The Florida association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (FACVB) has joined with Visit Florida to convince the State Legislature to appropriate an additional $59 million for tourism marketing.   This total does not include the $25million currently appropriated to the funds for tourism marketing.  The FACVB is tasked with seeking out the approval of local communities and counties in support of this increase in spending.

Osceola County recently approved Resolution #07-006R, which pledges their support to the campaign.  According to studies, Florida tourism was down for the third quarter of ’06 compared to the same quarter of the previous year, sparking concern that more media and marketing would be needed with the Visit Florida program in order to stem the decline.

Officials say that this emerging trend of decline, especially among international travelers, is due to advertising inflation, international domestic competitor marketing, stagnant public funding, and lingering hurricane perceptions.  All blend to create the “perfect storm” of tourism decline, prompting key counties such as Osceola to spur more support.

As times change, so does the value of a dollar.  Consider the fact that within the past 10 years, advertising costs, as with everything else, have increased steadily.  One dollar of advertising spent in 1997 can now only buy just under two-thirds of that value today.  The need becomes more dollars, prompting the FACVB to get involved.

The State Legislature has kept Visit Florida’s budget flat for the most part in that same 10 year period.   It is the hope of the FACVB that, with the help and support of Osceola and surrounding counties, that Visit Florida’s budget will finally see an influx of much needed cash.  The measure must be approved by the State Legislature before this increase is realized.

Posted in Orlando Tribune.