The most aggressive (and public) attack to date on Destination Marketing in America begins this afternoon in Tallahassee. The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee (how ironic) will hear testimony on a bill to eliminate Visit Florida.
What started as a vigilante crusade to punish the agency for paying Pitbull a million bucks to promote the State is now spiraling out of control to include all local Floridian Destination Marketing organizations.
What makes absolutely no sense is that this is a Republican bill; the party that is supposed to be pro-business. And yet, the elimination of Visit Florida would:
· Cost the State of Florida tax revenue and jobs – just a 5 percent drop in visitors means a loss of $5.5 billion in revenue, $563 million in taxes AND 70,000 jobs, substantially increasing Florida’s unemployment rate.
• In the absence of the State and local taxes generated by tourism, each Florida household would need to pay $1,535 to maintain the current level of government services.
• Hurt the 84% of travel businesses that are small businesses.
I would say "the whole world's watching," but they're not. Nobody outside of America would ever do what a handful of Florida legislators want to do...because it's just plain stoopid.
So...instead, "the whole nation's watching." Florida's competitors in rapt anticipation that they might actually gain market share. The rest of us terrified that our elected officials could be just as unsophisticatedly boneheaded.