VisitFlorida fighting for funding once again

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - VisitFlorida, the state’s primary tourism agency is again asking lawmakers for funding.

VisitFlorida is asking for help after a multi-million dollar cut led to a 42 percent reduction in staffing. (WJHG/WECP)

Last year the agency took a $26 million cut, resulting in a 42 percent reduction in staff.

The funding cut has also made it more difficult for the agency to respond to negative press from storms and other natural disasters that take a toll on the state’s image as a top vacation destination.

“If VisitFlorida is not here to be the voice saying Florida is open for business, just because Dorian's off the coast doesn't mean you shouldn't come to the Panhandle or Tampa Bay, then no one is going to have that message. And that science is going to be detrimental to our Florida economy,” said VisitFlorida CEO Dana Young.

With the agency's funding set to expire on June 30, VisitFlorida is hoping to have its funding reauthorized for eight years, but it may depend on what deal can be cut with the House Speaker, who has been critical of the agency in the past.