Visit Florida gets reprieve from Legislature

The money came through.

The big Florida tourism machine got a reprieve from defunding.

House and Senate negotiators April 28 agreed to extend Visit Florida’s funding until June 30, 2020, pushing $50 million into the agency’s coffers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis requested that Visit Florida stay active so he could assess the tourism organization. Lawmakers gave DeSantis two-thirds of the funding he requested, $26 million less than the governor’s $76 million recommendation.

Visit Florida is the state’s official tourism planning source and its mission is to promote tourism.

For example, Visit Florida has committed to boosting airline marketing for the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Visit Florida entered an agreement March 25, in which Visit Florida will contribute up to $100,000 for marketing new routes to SRQ.

Funding issues for Visit Florida have been front and center for several years, and the House wanted to provide just $19 million to cover expenses until Oct. 1, effectively eliminating the agency if it was not reauthorized under state law.

Visit Florida states on its website — — that visitors spent $112 billion in 2018 and supported 1.4 million Florida jobs. The agency says 126.1 million people visited Florida in 2018.

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