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Visit Florida

May 14th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Hotels in Florida, particularly in the Panhandle have seen advance books drop by as much as 80 percent because of the threat of oil on the beaches. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the state is responding by letting potential visitors see for themselves.

Images of destruction like this dominated national news after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

And while the damage was limited to South Florida, phones across the state stopped ringing.

A national ad campaign assured everyone the state was open for business.

Now the threat of oil on the beaches has turned the phones off again. This time the state is responding with live beach cams, blogging with insiders, and web advertising.

If theyre in Chicago, New York, Baton Rouge, Boston, or Berlin, they have much more confidence in a live picture taken by a real person or a live webcam,” Will Seccombe, with Visit Florida said.

190 thousand visitors have gone to the Visit Florida web site since the beginning of the month.

Right now the state has about 2 million dollars for this marketing blitz. But the governor has asked BP for almost 35 million more.

Concepts for national TV are being finalized and the spots could be up by the end of next week. And while 35 million seems like a lot…Visit Florida says think again.

Weve got 49 other states that are spending 800 million dollars a year, trying to lure those same visitors to their destinations.

And Visit Florida says that for every 85 tourists who dont come, the state will lose one job.

Visit Florida launched a Facebook page called Share a Little Sunshine. Theyre hoping people in Florida will share the page with their friends to encourage them to Visit.

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