UPDATE by: James Buechele
Ads made by Visit Florida are part of its budget used to entice tourists to the sunshine state.
Governor Rick Scott says he hopes to see 100 million visitors to Florida in 2014 which makes funding even more important.
"It gives us the opportunity to be year round in market[ing]," said Phipps. "Go west of the Mississippi. Typically we've been east of the Mississippi and to really to expand our footprint."
Last year the budget for digital advertising was only 5%. This year that number will jump to 30%.
Visit Florida's also expanding internationally by approaching people in Colombia, Argentina and Mexico to visit the beaches of the state. But it's not just the beaches and theme parks that Florida is using to try to attract tourists..
"[Tourism} is the number one industry in the state," said Lee Daniel of the Leon County Tourism Department. "I think we have a great track record of economic development through tourism throughout the state."
Many of the ideas from Visit Florida can trickle down into ways that mean big money and jobs in the Big Bend.
"There's a lot of different ways that we look at their co-op programs and take advantage of those. It helps us stretch our budget and makes our dollars really work harder."
News Release: Governor Scott's Office
ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced at Orlando International Airport that VISIT FLORIDA will receive $100 million in funding in the 2014-15 "It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget." With this funding, VISIT FLORIDA will be able to market the Sunshine State year round to domestic visitors, increase marketing to international visitors, and assist communities in attracting direct international air service to Florida.
Governor Scott said, "Last year, we secured more than $63 million in our 'Florida Families First Budget,' for VISIT FLORIDA and we made record gains in tourism. We are on track for another record year, and we hope to build on this incredible momentum and make the Sunshine State the number one travel destination in the world. To do that, we are going to recommend an historic $100 million in our 'It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget' this year. Because every 85 visitors to our state supports one Florida job, a growing tourism industry equates to more jobs for Florida families and a stronger economy."
Through the first three quarters of 2013, Florida welcomed 72.6 million visitors – an increase of 3.4 percent over the same period in 2012. Visitor spending in Florida for January-August 2013 (last reported month) was $51.8 billion, representing a year-over-year increase of 5.8 percent from the same period in 2012. Direct travel-related employment in Florida for January-August (last reported month) rose 2.8 percent, adding 29,700 jobs since this same time one year ago. Each of these figures marks a record, making the first three quarters of 2013 the largest nine-month period in the history of Florida’s tourism industry.
"On behalf of the statewide tourism industry, I am grateful to Governor Scott for his recognition of VISIT FLORIDA’s ability to provide a significant return on the state’s investment in tourism marketing. The Governor’s visionary leadership puts us in a position to make 2014 another record year for visitation and fuels the momentum that has Florida on track to become the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.