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Visit Florida looks to residents to kickstart tourism

ou’ll likely start seeing ads in the coming weeks encouraging you to visit...
ou’ll likely start seeing ads in the coming weeks encouraging you to visit Florida’s natural and outdoor tourist attractions. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: May. 8, 2020 at 10:47 PM CDT
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You’ll likely start seeing ads in the coming weeks encouraging you to visit Florida’s natural and outdoor tourist attractions.

It’s part of the state’s tourism marketing agency’s strategy for kickstarting the economy.

It was just before the start of the pandemic VISIT FLORIDA was marketing the state as a destination to ‘get away’ and ‘get closer’.

As described in a recent Executive Meeting, the messaging for phase one of its reopening plan is quite different.

“The consumer mindset is that safety equals home,” said VISIT FLORIDA Chief Marketing Officer Staci Mellman.

But the agency already has its sights set on the next phase.

An ad campaign will be rolled out.

It’s target audience: Florida residents.

“Data suggests that people feel a lot more comfortable traveling closer to home when they begin traveling again,” said Mellman.

The campaign will feature Florida’s natural destinations, where social distancing can be easily attained.

Every Floridian can play a part in helping the state’s largest industry recover.

“Taking advantage of all the wonderful outdoors opportunities that Florida brings is a great way to support our economy, have a great time with your family and also stay safe,” said Geoff Luebkemann, Vice President of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Luebkemann tells us the timeline for the campaign’s rollout will largely depend on consumer confidence.

“It's a careful balancing act between going too hard at it and too gung-ho without recognizing the public health aspects that still have to be respected,” said Luebkemann.

Survey data on VISIT FLORIDA's website shows slight improvements in tourist confidence.

A growing number say they'd travel by plane or stay in a hotel in the near future.

Still, for more than half respondents it will be at least four months before they do either.

Traffic to VISIT FLORIDA’s website has also been steadily rising for the past two weeks.

It’s now nearly twice as high as it was the same time last year, suggesting there’s a pent up demand for travel and Florida is on tourists’ radar.