Jackson County prepares for the summer tourist season

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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Tourism plays a major role for many areas across the state, and Jackson County is no exception.

Jackson County is working to restore two state parks and they hope to have the work done in time for tourist season. (WJHG/WECP)

The latest numbers from Visit Florida showed a $134 million economic impact for Jackson County and around 1,900 jobs, making 1 out of 10 jobs tourism-related according to Jackson County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Christy Andreasen.

That is why the Jackson County TDC and others are pushing to restore their springs, caves, and other eco-tourism facilities attract more summer visitors.

“Not only is it people visiting here are people that are eventually relocate here, the people that relocate here start a business here or they bring their family here,” said Andreasen.

Hurricane Michael devastated attractions like Blue Springs State Park, which brings in more than 20,000 visitors a year. Andreasen said repairs at the park are underway with the hope of getting it open by Memorial Day. She also says they are making plans to improve Florida Caverns State Park, which lost 90 percent of its trees during the storm.

Andreasen said they're also fixing up historical places damaged by the storm.

“Coming into our downtown area shopping and dining, visiting the little day trip attractions that’s important for our community right now. It’s something that we need,” said Andreasen.

Andreasen said they also plan to do weekly farmers markets, open up the Chipola River Greenway, and hold special events for visitors to enjoy.

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