Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced 4/11 that BP is sending a three-year, $30 million grant to the Northwest Florida Tourism Council (NWFTC) to help lure visitors to that region hit hard by the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill last year. The marketing grant brings BP’s commitment to Florida to $82 million for tourism and seafood testing and marketing.
The grant was a direct result of efforts by Gov. Scott, with the help of local leaders, to ensure BP is more deeply invested in the area’s recovery effort. The Governor and the NWFTC signed two separate deals which direct the grant directly to the NWFTC coalition, which includes the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin, and establishes a policy for handling the grant. The money must be used for the purposes of tourism promotion and awareness building.
BP will evaluate spend and the NWFTC partners have agreed to quarterly updates on tourism program activities and results pursuant to the agreement. The detailed reports will measure results against quarterly benchmarks to demonstrate how the funds are being used and the results that were generated. ROI will be measured in variety of ways including website metrics and analytics, participation at events, visitation, bed tax collections and economic impact.
RBR-TVBR observation: It will take some time for tourist mindsets to be changed and this is the best way to continue to do it. The perception is still there that plant and fish life have been permanently affected, even though the water and coastline may be clearer and cleaner in most places. As well, there continues to be reports of damage from the 1.84 million gallons of dispersant used to help clean up the spill.