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Tourism Blitz

May 12th, 2010 by flanews

There’s a tourism crisis in Florida and the state’s lead agency in charge of bringing visitors says it needs 26 million dollars to save the industry. Visit Florida is asking BP to foot the bill for a nationwide tourism blitz to let travelers know the company’s oil leak hasn’t hit Florida beaches yet. As Whitney Ray reports, with Memorial Day around the corner there’s no time to waste.

The message is as clear as the water washing up on Florida’s beaches; Florida is open for business.

But fear of the growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico making landfall in Florida has travelers looking elsewhere. Carol Dover, the President of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association says business flat lined this week.

“Monday they hit the 911 button. There were no phones ringing, they were letting people go. We had some who had room reservations that were higher than the 90 percentile that dropped down to 15 and 17 percent,” said Carol Dover, the president of Florida’s Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Dover is on the state tourism board. Wednesday the board asked Governor Charlie Crist for millions to help get the word out that Florida beaches are unharmed.

“We need to advertise, get the message out that our beaches clean, our water is clean, the fish are biting. Please come to the panhandle, it’s beautiful and I think we have to do it quickly,” said Crist.

But doing it quickly will take a lot more than the 2.5 million dollars the state has available for advertising.

Visit Florida wants to run a media blitz with TV, radio and internet advertising going out nationwide. They’re asking BP to cough up 24 million dollars to launch the campaign.

“We are asking them for an immediate response to help offset the indirect impacts that had occurred as a result of no impact, and just being associated with the whole crisis,” said Crist Thompson, President of Visit Florida.

It will take ten days to launch the campaign. Visit Florida hopes to get the money soon enough to reach travelers before Memorial Day Weekend.

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