Florida Gov. to search yet again for new chief of staff

Tia Mitchell

Tia Mitchell

Visit Florida predicted the budget cut will negatively impact its ability to market the state as a tourism destination and in so doing put the industry and the jobs it creates at risk.

A record number of tourists are coming to Florida. Scott hinted he may veto the budget.

Almost 113 million tourists - a lot of them from the United States - visited past year.

Scott however, says the growth could be doomed if potential cuts are made to Florida's tourism marketing agency.

There was a 2.2 percent increase in the number of hotel rooms sold, for a 0.7 percent increase in the occupancy rate compared to this time past year.

Almost 31.1 million people visited the sunshine state during the first three months of 2017. "In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results", he said.

Visit Florida President and CEO Ken Lawson said in a release from the governor's office that, at the proposed funding level, his agency won't be able to compete for tourists against California and Texas. Estimates also show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State in January-March 2017, unchanged from the first quarter of past year.

Scott attributes the growth in the number of tourists -- from 87.3 million in 2011 to almost 113 million past year -- to a spike in state spending on marketing.

Scott bashed legislators throughout the session, especially House Republicans and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, who spearheaded a push against programs Scott deems essential to boosting the state's economy. Estimates also show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State from January-March.

Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism, and has been caught up in a protracted civil war involving ISIS.

Also, Visit Florida has drawn fire in recent days because of a contract with a German advertising firm that included marketing Florida to travelers from Syria.

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