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Pam Forrester
VISIT FLORIDA & Partners Promote the Sunshine State’s Luxury Assets

By on April 24th, 2015 — 10:35am

You can’t plan it and you certainly can’t control it, but sometimes it all comes together – weather, style-setters and action-packed polo creating a thrilling day on and off the field at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. With this backdrop of the U.S. Open Polo Championship Final Match, VISIT FLORIDA and our Partners hosted  a “Chukkers, Champagne and Sunshine” media brunch that few will soon forget.

Though the setting was formal, the atmosphere was relaxed as Partners from the Florida Department of Agriculture, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, the OPAL Collection in Palm Beach County, Visit Sarasota, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, The Paradise Coast, and the Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority enjoyed Sunday brunch and talked with journalists.  More than 20 media from around the world, including Argentina, the UK, Canada, Germany and cities dotting the US, had a chance to learn about Florida’s many equine and luxury assets.

There was much to discuss; the equine industry in Florida accounts for $5.1 billion in economic impact yearly with 68,000 people employed by the industry.  Ocala/Marion County in Central Florida calls itself the “Horse Capital of the World” with more than 700 horse farms sitting on 30,000 acres.  There are actually horse farms located in each county of Florida, making up nearly 30 percent of the state’s total farms.  It’s serious business and seriously fun to enjoy Florida’s many equine assets, from horse surfing in Bradenton to a trail ride in Levy County.

In addition to the Partners at the International Polo Club, 16 VISIT FLORIDA Partners contributed to a luxury-equine landing page created as an introduction for the media. Amelia Island welcomed readers to “Come Make Memories,” Florida’s Historic Coast invited guests to “epic shopping, grand hotels and engaging interludes,” and Visit South Walton highlighted the 2015 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award Winners in Northwest Florida. The venues are different, but the message is always the same: Florida offers sophisticated upscale vacation experiences for all tastes.

Polo took center stage on Sunday, but VISIT FLORIDA, in conjunction with Discover The Palm Beaches, also hosted six media for a five-day FAM trip before and after the U.S. Open Polo Championship Final Match.  The trip offered a luxury FAM experience of the Palm Beach area.  To understand how they were exploring the area, the tables were turned on the media when asked, “What do you consider luxury?”

Kate Michael with Pursuitist: “When you surround yourself in a cocoon of comfort, for example, the HMY yacht trip was the ultimate experience for all five senses; looking at and touching the magnificent yacht, feeling the sun on you as you sailed, smelling the ocean waters and tasting the amazing champagne.”

DeMarco Williams with Forbes Travel Guide: “It speaks to anticipation, knowing what the client needs before they ask, for example, at the Eau Palm Beach the housekeeping staff picked up my phone and laptop chargers and put them in a little mesh bag to keep them together so I wouldn’t forget them.”

Katie Nanton with NUVO Magazines: “Luxury is a perfect combination of natural, pristine coastline and handmade beauty, not necessarily something that money can buy, for example at hotels, restaurants and even on our yacht trip, it appears seamless from the front, but dozens are working behind the scene to create the experience.”

Susan Veness: The Telegraph Online/The Guardian: “Stepping outside your everyday experiences to be immersed in an atmosphere of pampering.  Like being out on the water during the yacht trip, ‘that is a gift’.”

Between scrumptious food, exotic and classic cars at the Barrett Jackson Auction, learning to play croquet at the National Croquet Center, yoga and massages at the Eau Palm Beach spa, shopping on Worth Avenue and dinner at the HMF restaurant at the Breakers Palm Beach, all the senses were indulged, every need anticipated and all the experiences seamlessly fulfilled.

For more information about VISIT FLORIDA’s media relations efforts, contact me at pforrester@visitflorida.org.


Pam Forrester
Public Relations Representative

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Ashley Abney
VISIT FLORIDA & Partners Share the Sunshine with Canadian Planners

By on April 23rd, 2015 — 1:44pm

Last week, VISIT FLORIDA and four of our industry Partners participated in the Ignite Business Event (iBE) Expo in Toronto as part of Canada Meet Week.   iBE Expo is an experiential, interactive and informative marketplace for buyers of meetings, incentive travel services and business events in Canada. This one-day event, which drew more than 840 Canadian meeting planners, is specifically tailored to connect planners with suppliers, while offering continuing education and keynote speakers from various industries. Read more of this post »


Ashley Abney
International Sales & Market Development Representative

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Will Seccombe
Florida Tourism Employment Shows Growth for Five Straight Years

By on April 20th, 2015 — 1:27pm

We all know tourism is the state’s No. 1 industry and that every 85 visitors support one Florida job.  With the release of the latest employment data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, here are some new stats you may not know: Read more of this post »


Will Seccombe
President & CEO

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Steven Bonda
VISIT FLORIDA Participates in First-Ever National Meetings Industry Day

By on April 17th, 2015 — 2:38pm

NAMIDAs part of the first annual North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID), VISIT FLORIDA was proud to lend our voice to this nationwide day of advocacy to spotlight the substantial value derived from business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions.  To help celebrate the meeting industry’s impact on local, national and international economies, VISIT FLORIDA promoted NAMID through e-blasts, Florida Meetings Twitter and Facebook posts, and support for statewide “Meetings Mean Business” events. Read more of this post »


Steven Bonda, CMP
Manager - Meetings & Conventions

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Marlene Squires-Swanson
VISIT FLORIDA Launches “Say Yes to Florida” Spring Campaign

By on April 14th, 2015 — 3:00pm

VISIT FLORIDA recently launched our 2015 “Say Yes to Florida” Spring marketing campaign, which builds on last year’s award-winning success with encouraging families to ‘say yes’ to a Sunshine State vacation.  Following its initial launch in 2014, the campaign was named by Skift as one of the the ’5 Best Travel Ads to Watch.’   Read more of this post »


Marlene Squires-Swanson
Director of Global Advertising

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