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Tallahassee Museum Talks Tourism and "Visit Florida" Budget Cuts

Posted at 5:40 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 15:05:40-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Tourism in the Sunshine State is a big topic lately as lawmakers continue to cut funding for organizations like Visit Florida.

In Florida, tourism is one of the biggest sources of revenue, with visitors spending over $109 billion dollars in 2016. That generated close to $11 billion in tax revenue, which helped fund and support millions of jobs, like police officers, firefighters, and teachers. Without the extra money from tourism, residents in Florida would have to pay over $1,000 more in taxes to sustain the current level of services.

A cut to Visit Florida's funding wouldn't only be felt by residents within the state, but also local attractions like the Tallahassee Museum. In fact, the main concern among museum officials is that a decrease in Visit Florida funding could mean a decrease in guests, spending, and staff cuts. 

About a third of the visitors at the museum are tourists. Thanks to the extra money from these tourists, the museum is able to offer many programs and services to the community that would otherwise need to be cut. 

While larger tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios may not feel the effects of decreased funding to Visit Florida, smaller attractions like the Tallahassee Museum would be hit hard. 

"For us, the Tallahassee Museum, they greatly expand our marketing abilities in terms of reach and frequency," says Russell Daws, the president of the Tallahassee Museum. "If we were to try to maintain the kind of visibility we have with Visit Florida gone, we couldn't afford to do that."

This budget cut would mean that the Visit Florida funding would drop from $75 million dollars to only $25 million.

For more information on the importance of tourism in Florida, visit www.floridafacesoftravel.com.