Tallahassee, Fla.– Today, following Governor Rick Scott's emergency order, VISIT FLORIDA launched two programs to assist local tourism development boards in counties adversely affected by naturally occurring red tide, which include Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The Tourism Recovery Grant Program for Red Tide and Red Tide Recovery Marketing Program are designed to assist each affected county with marketing their destination once red tide has subsided.
As directed by Governor Scott, VISIT FLORIDA created a $500,000 Tourism Recovery Grant Program for Red Tide to provide financial assistance to tourism development boards to execute marketing programs through advertising, direct mail, brochure production, website development, as well as other related projects/programs. Grant applicants must submit a marketing plan outlining how they plan to spend the funds and will only receive the funds once that marketing plan has been executed. Local tourism businesses in the impacted counties will work with their local tourism development boards to be included in the marketing efforts.
The Red Tide Recovery Marketing Program is available to businesses of all sizes in the tourism industry in the counties affected by red tide. This program provides six months complimentary VISIT FLORIDA marketing partnership, which includes an enhanced web listing on VISITFLORIDA.com, the ability to submit content for exposure on VISIT FLORIDA's social media channels, media blog and website, the ability to promote Partner-to-Partner specials and more. This program also provides the opportunity to have a presence in the official Florida Welcome Centers with brochure distribution, lobby booth displays and showcase participation.
Ken Lawson, President & CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said "Florida's economy is fueled by travel and tourism and it's VISIT FLORIDA's job to protect our industry. These programs will allow our destinations to show visitors that Florida is ready to welcome visitors back to its world-renowned beaches in Southwest Florida."
Governor Scott also tasked VISIT FLORIDA with developing a marketing campaign to assist Southwest Florida communities that will start following this year's red tide blooms. This integrated campaign will include marketing efforts across a number of platforms, including advertising, promotions, social media, content production, welcome centers, and VISITFLORIDA.com. Through these channels, VISIT FLORIDA will be sharing with the rest of the state, country and the world that Southwest Florida's beaches are back to their pristine conditions and ready to welcome visitors.
For more information about the two programs, go to VISITFLORIDA.org.