Gov. Rick Scott isn’t giving up on his push to spend $100 million to fund Florida’s tourism arm, Visit Florida.
On Tuesday, Scott spoke with reporters and upped the proposed funding for Visit Florida, which is largely responsible for promoting tourism in the Sunshine State.
The governor is pushing state lawmakers to set aside an extra $24 million on top of his original $76 million to fund Visit Florida.
“We’ve got to continue to market,” Scott said. “My goal this session since we know we have more money...is to spend another $24 million...to get more tourists here so we get more jobs for Florida families.”
Jobs, Scott says, are a huge reason to support the programs. That message is important to the governor, who has largely campaigned on the promise to get Florida back to work.
Other states like California, Georgia and Texas are all making their pitches to attract visitors to Florida.
"We support this recommendation," said Ken Lawson, president and CEO of Visit Florida, who said Florida would fend off other states promoting tourism in Florida. "We're not going to have that. We are going to protect our market share."
As the clock winds down to the end of the legislative session, both the House and the Senate will have to come to some kind of agreement over how much -- if any -- Visit Florida and the state’s economy agency, Enterprise Florida, will receive.
The Senate is currently proposing giving Enterprise Florida $85 million in funding for the economic incentive agency, while giving another $76 million to Visit Florida.
The House, on the other hand, is still adamantly opposed to Enterprise Florida and is holding firm to its slashed $25 million allotment to the state tourism agency.
Tourism is a huge industry for Florida, which welcomed nearly 113 million visitors to the state in 2016. That number was an uptick of nearly 30 million visitors more than the state saw just five years earlier.
The legislative session ends May 5.