“Sunshine State” Offers “Weather Insurance” to Encourage Summer Meetings

January 24, 2005

A “supplemental weather insurance” plan to encourage organizations to schedule meetings in the “Sunshine State” during August, September and October 2005 has been announced by the board of directors of Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing organization. Details or provisions of the plan were not announced.

Visit Florida launched an intensified marketing campaign, one provision of which will be to offer a “weather warranty” which according to Dale Brill, chief marketing officer, aims to combat negative perceptions of Florida after last fall’s string of hurricanes.

“We want to assure meeting planners that no other state in the country and no other country on the planet is more capable than Florida of delivering a successful meeting,” Brill explained. “When it comes to meetings, the only damage we are dealing with from the hurricanes is perception damage.”

The $4.75 million campaign will include grant funds totaling $475,000 for areas hardest hit by the hurricanes, which may need assistance to jump-start their own marketing efforts.

The grants will be available to tourism organizations that can demonstrate need for assistance given criteria that will be developed and judged by the Visit Florida Marketing Council Steering Committee task force. The task force will use methodologies already applied with existing Visit Florida grant programs such as the Matching Advertising Grant and Multicultural Grant Programs.

Tourism is Florida’s No. 1 industry. It has an annual economic impact of $52 billion and employs more than 870,000 Floridians.

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