On Thursday, the Florida delegation held a meeting to focus on tourism which remains the biggest industry in the Sunshine State.
The two chairmen of the delegation–Democrat U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan–set up the meeting with tourism officials.
Noting that tourism and the state’s population both continue to boom, Buchanan asked Visit Florida President Dana Young if this will lead to more traffic problems.
“With nearly one-thousand new residents moving to Florida every day how does the tourism industry plan to respond to this population growth?” Buchanan asked.
“We have launched efforts to showcase some of our natural attractions and pushing people to some of our more rural areas,” Young replied. “Once people see the natural beauties of our state they will be more inclined to do things to maintain them and protect them.”
Buchanan also asked Young about red tide’s impact on tourism.
“If we don’t get a hold of this it will absolutely affect our ability to attract visitors going forward,” she said.
Brian Sands, vice president of the Themed Entertainment Association, said Florida had 123 million visitors to its various theme parks in 2017.
“Tourism is the core driver of Florida’s economy,” Sands said.
“This is the eighth consecutive record year for Florida tourism, according to Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism promotion organization. Its research shows that over one million Floridians are employed in the tourism industry and that one new job is created by every 85 additional visitors,” Buchanan’s office noted.
“Tourism drives a significant portion of Florida’s strong economy and provides extensive employment opportunities,” Buchanan said. “With Florida’s visitor count continuing at a record pace, our bipartisan delegation needs to ensure that the Sunshine State remains the best place to live, work and visit.”
Other members of the Florida delegation who attended the event include Democrat U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Lois Frankel, Donna Shalala, Darren Soto and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, John Rutherford and Ted Yoho.
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