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VISIT FLORIDA Shares Enhanced 2016 Hurricane Season Plan

By on May 25th, 2016 — 1:03pm

As we approach the start of the 2016 Hurricane Season, I wanted to share the resources and action steps VISIT FLORIDA has developed to ensure Florida’s visitors have access to real-time, hyper-local information.  It is our hope that these efforts will allow our visitors to make the most informed travel-planning decisions possible in preparation for a potential weather threat that might impact the state.

Each spring, VISIT FLORIDA’s crisis management response team re-addresses our Hurricane Crisis Preparedness Plan, updating it as needed and ensuring it is ready to implement.  Additional steps taken in advance of this year’s hurricane season include:

  • Working closely with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to align our response steps
  • Revamping and testing our consumer messaging response efforts on VISITFLORIDA.com, including the Travel Alert and supporting Travel Advisory page offering official state response resources, mapped links to live Twitter feeds from DMOs, webcam feeds from tourism destinations, videos created by our Content team and an aggregation of industry and consumer social media posts using #FloridaNow
  • Testing our Emergency Accommodations Module (EAM) activation process which allows us to provide statewide accommodations availability on VISITFLORIDA.com, its associated mobile site and the state’s FloridaEvacuates.com website should a widespread evacuation order impacting visitors be declared within the state
  • Hosting an industry webinar to share the details of our Hurricane Response Plan including communications, content, paid and social media efforts, as well as training on how to populate the EAM should the need arise
  • Updating the Hurricane Information page within our Crisis Preparation section on VISITFLORIDA.org which contains a link to the EAM webinar, helpful FAQs, media relations tips and resources for communicating with key audiences in times of crisis
  • Verifying information for all our local tourism contacts should we need to mobilize the industry

VISIT FLORIDA is proud to play the vital role of serving as a liaison between the hyper-local information that our tourism partners have in each community and the visitors and emergency responders who need those details in order to make well-informed decisions. Remaining in regular contact with state emergency officials and tourism industry representatives ensure we are able to share the very latest updates through our consumer website, our mobile site and the staff at our five Official Florida Welcome Centers.

Visitors looking for the latest weather or travel updates will find that information on the VISITFLORIDA.com home page in an alert box activated as an orange ribbon at the top of the screen whenever a potential crisis situation arises.  A link from there takes users to a page with many more resources we’ve compiled, including:

  • Details on the latest official weather or storm alerts
  • Links to the Florida Emergency Information 24-hour Hotline and Florida 511 road closure information
  • Links to the National Hurricane Center and Florida Division of Emergency Management websites
  • Live local updates from our Destination Marketing Organization partners via Twitter
  • Live webcam feeds from tourism destinations around the state
  • Videos created by VISIT FLORIDA’s content team featuring first non-impacted areas and later impacted areas once recovered
  • An aggregated feed of social media posts using #FloridaNow

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our industry Partners, whose willingness to be involved in VISIT FLORIDA’s crisis response programs and diligence in providing vital local information in real time ensures our visitors have the resources they need to stay safe in the Sunshine State.

Meredith DaSilva
Director of Executive Operations
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Brand USA “Southern Shine” MegaFam Kicks Off in the Sunshine State

By on May 19th, 2016 — 2:41pm

MegaFAM 4Brand USA launched its USA MegaFam 2016 last week, which included seven itineraries spanning 16 states with destinations hosting a total of 100 travel agents, travel consultants and reservation specialists.  The “Southern Shine” itinerary kicked off in the Sunshine State before moving on to locations in Georgia and South Carolina, and concluding with a finale presentation in California today.  The “Southern Shiners” group included 15 elite travel agents from England, Scotland and Ireland who were hand-picked by Brand USA. Read more of this post »

Ashley Abney
International Sales & Market Development Representative

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Registration Now Open for 2016 Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism

By on May 18th, 2016 — 1:37pm

GovConf_Cvent-graphic (1)Attendee registration for the 2016 Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now open.  This year, VISIT FLORIDA’s No. 1 signature event, which serves as the state’s premier educational conference for the tourism industry, will be held September 7-9 at the Hilton Orlando. Read more of this post »

Steven Bonda
Senior Manager, Corporate Meetings & Events

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2016 Flagler Awards Entry Deadline Fast Approaching

By on May 17th, 2016 — 12:46pm

Flagler 1VISIT FLORIDA’s 2016 Flagler Awards competition is underway and now accepting entries from the countless organizations and individuals who use their talents to market Florida to the world.  The deadline for entries is next Friday, May 27. Read more of this post »

Meredith DaSilva
Director of Executive Operations

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Governor Rick Scott: Florida Tourism Breaks Another Record

By on May 16th, 2016 — 12:43pm

During a press conference at the Clearwater Aquarium this morning, Governor Rick Scott announced that 29.8 million out-of-state and international visitors came to Florida in the first quarter of 2016 (January-March), marking the highest number of visitors in one quarter in the state’s history.  This is an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period last year and exceeds the previous high of 28.5 million in the first quarter of 2015. Read more of this post »

Will Seccombe
President & CEO

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