Florida drew an estimated 33.2 million visitors from January through March, which was a 7.4 percent increase over the same period in 2017.
Paul C. Pershes, president of the 1,100-home Ocean Hammock Property Owners Association, addresses members of a key senate committee that will be hearing proposed regulations of short-term rentals.
Visit Florida President and CEO Ken Lawson said he and others have heard anecdotal reports, both positive and negative, about international travel due to Donald Trump.
A good showing in December aside, when year-over-year tourism tax receipts jumped 18 percent, Flagler County has done less well, and not necessarily because of Hurricane Matthew.
Palm Coast’s Rep. Paul Renner continued to defend the proposals, which would cut Visit Florida’s budget to $25 million, as the House bill heads for a floor vote in march, but still without viable Senate support.
Visit Florida received $78 million from lawmakers for the current fiscal year that ends June 30. The Sunshine State attracted 112.8 million tourists in 2016. He credited the 5.86 percent increase from the prior year.
Gov. Rick Scott was in campaign mode in a visit to Flagler Beach Monday as he criticized Flagler’s Rep. Paul Renner, a fellow-Republican, for introducing a bill that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
The 5.1 percent increase from the same time last year came as Canadians, Florida’s top source of foreign tourism, have cut back on travel due to their nation’s weakened dollar.
In the past three months, there has been a mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub, a 2-year-old child killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World, toxic algae blooms choking East and West Coast waterways, and the continued spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
A big concern for Florida is the frequency of travel between the state and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where more than 4,500 cases have been reported, nearly all contracted through mosquitoes.