Gov. Ron DeSantis and local and state tourism officials have kicked off a new marketing campaign to promote more tourism within Florida by Floridians.

In a recent appearance in Daytona Beach, DeSantis was joined by Dana Young, president and CEO of Visit Florida, and leaders of the three tourism advertising authorities in Volusia County.

GEORGIA AND DA GOV.jpg

MAKING THEIR ACQUAINTANCE — Gov. Ron DeSantis and West Volusia Tourism’s Georgia Turner pose before a press conference in Daytona Beach recently.

“This new intrastate marketing campaign is the latest step we’re taking to help get people back to work,” DeSantis said in a news release about the visit. “While the pandemic is not over, and safety remains paramount, we encourage Floridians to venture out of their homes to enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer.”

Young of Visit Florida said the state tourism agency was launching a massive campaign to support the state’s economic recovery and struggling tourism industry.

“Our tourism businesses have been severely impacted, but there is no doubt that our state is still the best place to live and the best destination for travelers,” Young said in the release. “Together with Governor DeSantis, Visit Florida and our state’s tourism industry will not stop until we have fully recovered and every Floridian whose job was impacted by COVID-19 can get back to work as quickly as possible.”

Tourism is a major pillar of Florida’s economy, accounting for more than 1.5 million jobs and $91 billion in revenue in 2019. But, due to a global downturn in travel caused by COVID-19, Florida visitation dropped by more than 60 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020, DeSantis said.

To counter that decline, Visit Florida’s in-state tourism marketing campaign is designed to support the state’s economic recovery, and to remind Floridians that their home state offers world-class tourism opportunities that most people must travel to other states and countries to experience.

The Visit Florida campaign until just before Thanksgiving will entail TV commercials in all the state’s major markets, as well as extensive digital and social-media work around the state.

Georgia Turner, executive director of the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, attended the news conference. She noted that most of her agency’s marketing has always been done in-state, but lately all of it is.

“The biggest part of what we’re doing is promoting the Safe Outdoors,” Turner said, referring to activities such as hiking, birding, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and visiting state parks. “Our bread-and-butter is the drive market from Tampa, Jacksonville and Melbourne, and we’ll continue to do some of the things we’ve done before, like travel shows around the state. It can’t do anything but help us.”

Turner said all three Volusia ad authorities have always worked together to promote the area.

“This campaign is really going to help us, and Visit Florida will be marketing it as well,” she said. “It will be good for us and our East Volusia agencies as well. It will be effective even during the pandemic.”