Those of us in Destination Marketing are continually attempting to convince a skeptical public that investing in tourism promotion is one of the only (and best) ways that government can generate significant levels of non-resident taxes. The supporting data is all there...but, for some reason, politicians seem to think they know better.
So, when a new angle is suggested, we're all ears. And, it will be interesting if it changes the mood of the Florida House of Representatives...or if it shows them to be gambling with the State's economy to score visibility for the next election cycle.
J. Ben Watkins, director of the Florida Division of Bond Finance is urging legislators to support the Governor's budget request of $100 million for Visit Florida...or risk a reduction in the credit ratings of Florida cities and counties. In a letter to legislators, he cites the potential negative financial and economic consequences of slashing the Tourism budget in a totally new light.
While I doubt the letter, by itself, will change the collective mind of the House, messing with a city's and county's bond rating are fightin' words. And, I'm sure those local politicians won't be shy in communicating their displeasure with their State delegations.
So, we now have another angle from which to defend the work we do. Thanks, Ben. I had never considered that angle.