Visit Florida funding threat lifted

A funding threat to Visit Florida has been lifted with the state fully restoring financial support to the tourism-marketing organisation.

Florida lawmakers last month passed a state budget cutting Visit Florida’s funding by 67% to $25 million.

However, governor Rick Scott vetoed the cut, and called a special session last week to negotiate the budget, which resulted in the tourism body’s $76 million budget being restored, among other changes.

Problems began for the Visit Florida last year when it was revealed that it had paid rapper Pitbull $1 million to promote the state, leading to the resignation of the group’s CEO in January.

Florida House speaker Richard Corcoran, a Republican, called for the elimination of the group.

Scott campaigned relentlessly in support of the state’s tourism-marketing arm, citing record-breaking visitation numbers for the past five years, Travel Weekly in the US reported.

In 2015, Florida became the first US state to welcome more than 100 million visitors in a single year.

“We’ve fully funded Visit Florida so we can continue to break visitation records,” Scott said.

The not for profit corporation was created as a public-private partnership by the Florida legislature in 1996.

Last year tourism was responsible for attracting 112.8 million visitors to the state, spending $108.8 billion and supporting 1.4 million jobs

Visit Florida has 136 full and part-time positions in the state and an international team of contracted staff covering Canada, China, India, Germany, Latin America and the UK.

More on Visit Florida:

Visit Florida chief ousted over rapper contract controversy

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