Senator-elect Rick Scott, earlier announcing that he would work his term as Governor to the last day, has announced the launch of two VISIT FLORIDA Hurricane Michael assistance programs, which he hopes will aid local tourism business in the Panhandle area.Commenting on the effort, Scott noted that “As Florida continues to recover from Hurricane Michael, we are working non-stop and using every available resource to help the Panhandle rebuild. I’m proud of the work VISIT FLORIDA has done to support Panhandle families and businesses. These programs will provide critical relief and support, and help encourage more visitors to come to enjoy the Sunshine State.”
The programs, titled the Tourism Recovery Grant Program for Hurricane Michael and the Hurricane Michael Recovery Marketing Program, are designed to assist the counties to market themselves as soon as the hurricane-damaged areas are open to all. The Tourism Recovery Grant Program will provide financial assistance for tourist development boards and marketing programs, and it will also provide complimentary VISIT FLORIDA marketing partnerships until June 30th, 2019.
Both programs will be available to Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties.
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Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, having just won his reelection bid, commented that “The Panhandle has made great progress since Hurricane Michael swept through the area, and many businesses have recovered and reopened. Tourism is an economic engine for the area, and businesses and residents depend on the revenue and jobs it generates. This program will help amplify the message that Northwest Florida is open for business, and we are building a better, stronger Florida.”
And, Ken Lawson, VISIT FLORIDA’s president and CEO, praised the effort, saying that “Tourism is Florida’s number one economic driver and VISIT FLORIDA is committed to safeguarding our industry. These programs will provide support to the affected counties and enable our destinations to show visitors that Florida is ready to welcome them back. I want to thank Governor Scott for his leadership as we work to mitigate the impacts of Hurricane Michael on the tourism industry and continue to let the world know that Florida is still the number one global destination.”