Gov. Scott wants increased budget for Visit Florida

Fla. Tourism
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-10 13:13:00-05

TALLAHASSE, Fla.-- Governor Rick Scott announced he wants to increase funding for Visit Florida to $100 million, a $37 million increase from last year.

"I think the people of Florida understand that tourism is a key part to our economy," said Paul Phipps, Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Florida.

Phipps says record setting numbers of tourists visited the state in the past couple of years, and Governor Scott says Florida is on track for another successful year.

"We hope to build on this incredible momentum," said Governor Scott, "and make the sunshine state the number one travel destination in the entire world."

"That creates more jobs, it creates more sales tax revenue, it helps us with roads, it helps us with teachers pay," said Phipps, "all the things of our quality of life as residents of Florida."

According to Phipps, putting more money into the state's tourism industry as a whole could have a trickle down effect for local economies, but not everyone agrees with the governor's decision to increase the budget this much in the tourism department.

"I'm not sure if that kind of jump is needed when you look at the other problems state government is facing," said Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox. "If I were making that choice, I'd rather put it toward public education."

Maddox says if legislators approve the budget proposal, he hopes to see the airport benefit.

"We're doing our best to bring in low cost carriers and more flight options out of Tallahassee," he said, "so hopefully if they do make this move, some of that rubber will hit the road on the local level at the Tallahassee airport."

Lawmakers will consider Governor Scott's request this spring.