Gov. Charlie Crist outlined plans for a $25 million tourism campaign 5/25. Print, broadcast and Internet ads promoting the Florida Panhandle, which is closest to the spill and depends heavily on summer tourism, should begin appearing within 24 to 48 hours. The ads will run mainly in the Southeast, the Panhandle’s biggest market.
Crist made the announcement at a hastily called news conference shortly after BP wired the money.
The cash arrived about four hours after a cabinet meeting that began with state Sen. Don Gaetz, (R), questioning why Florida hadn’t yet deployed the money BP had promised last week. It was delayed by the drafting of a memorandum of understanding that wasn’t finalized until Tuesday, reported the AP.
“They have ads in the can that are ready to go to tell travelers that our Florida beaches are clean and clear, the fish are biting and the Sunshine State, including northwest Florida, is open for business,” Crist said. “Florida continues to be a great value for families, business travelers and international visitors seeking an enjoyable vacation experience. In spite of negative images and reports people may be hearing about Florida’s beaches and fishing grounds, this campaign will tell the world how they can see live images of Florida beaches and businesses,” Crist said.
The campaign will focus first on the Panhandle region, and subsequently will be expanded to all coastal counties experiencing economic impact from the oil spill catastrophe. Crist said seven local tourist development agencies in the Panhandle would share in the cash with Visit Florida, the state’s tourism agency. He also announced the finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Florida and BP.
“We will use BP’s resources as quickly as possible to target every city and region that support tourism destinations in the Panhandle, as well as national and international markets,” Crist concluded.