Flagler government tourism chief Matt Dunn, an $82,000-a-year employee, owns a company that offers services similar to those he provides the county, raising questions of conflicts of interest.
The $71,000 Deltronics sign, plus $15,000 for its installation, was paid for through a $150,000 grant from county government’s Tourist Development Council and is part of a series of improvements at the auditorium designed to improve visibility and impact.
Monthly tax collections from Flagler’s 4 percent surtax (or bed tax) on fees at hotels, motels and other short-term rentals were up 13 percent by the end of the 2014 fiscal year (it ended in September), after increasing 5 percent the previous year.
Matt Dunn, 39, named Vice President for tourism today–he’ll be in charge of a $900,000 budget controlling Flagler’s marketing–owned his own events company in St. Johns County, worked with Flagler’s tourism council previously, and was Executive Director of the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Ocala/Marion County Sports Commission.
The Florida Festivals and Events Association (FFEA), the state’s primary professional organization for producers, vendors, and sponsors of festivals, fairs and special events, is hosting a workshop and seminar at the Hilton Garden Inn Palm Coast on Thursday, October 10, for all those interested either in learning the ropes or capitalizing on special events.
County Commissioner George Hanns and Administrator Craig Coffey had talked of absorbing the tourism office–currently a branch of the chamber of commerce–into county government. It won’t happen. Rather, Tourism Director Georgia Turner is talking of having a stand-alone tourism office in a few years.
State lawmakers are speeding toward repealing a new law that says international visitors need special permits to drive in Florida. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, has caused a brouhaha, particularly for Canadian snowbirds who pile into the Sunshine State each winter to take a break from the cold.
Online booking companies like Expedia and Hotels.com are short-changing Flagler and Florida of millions of dollars in sales and bed taxes, and unfairly competing with local hotels, argues Milissa Holland, yet the Legislature is looking to give those companies more tax breaks. It’s not the way to go.
Georgia Turner, Flagler’s new tourism chief, had her debut before the Tourist Development Council Wednesday as the council approved grants totaling $170,000, including underwriting for two popular and growing local conferences that attract numerous out-of-towners.
Turner was hired in November to lead the county’s tourism efforts on behalf of the Tourist Development Council. She introduces herself in her own words.