|Governor’s Conference Highlights|
Thanks so much to everyone who attended the 42nd Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism! This year’s event was a rousing success and I attribute much of that to the hard work and dedication of all the staff at VISIT FLORIDA. The Fontainebleau was a spectacular host location and the food and service they provided were unparalleled. I also want to personally thank each of the exhibitors and sponsors who participated in a variety of ways and without whom an event of this magnitude would not have been possible.
There were so many memorable moments from the conference, but the lasting impression that stays with me is one of renewed optimism for the tourism industry and a real sense that we are “all in this together.” After Will Seccombe, VISIT FLORIDA’s Chief Marketing Officer, and I presented our new marketing plan to everyone, I could feel the energy and enthusiasm in the crowd. For all the attendees who came up to me during the conference offering words of support for VISIT FLORIDA’s efforts and pledging their commitment to a strong combined effort going forward, you have my sincere appreciation and thanks.
There is no doubt Chairman Ed Fouche knows how to bring an audience to their feet, and his welcome remarks challenging us all to “stand up for tourism” certainly kicked the conference off on a high note. He is an innovative leader in our industry and I am proud to be working along side him this year.
I am so appreciative that Governor Crist was able to attend the conference. His praise for the hard work and dedication of the tourism industry professionals and for VISIT FLORIDA’s recent programs, such as our Viva Florida! Spanish culture and heritage awareness campaign, made it clear he understands the challenges we have faced and wants to see us succeed.
I must say an unexpected conference highlight for me came when Representative Joe Gibbons, the Ranking Democratic member of the House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Committee, came to the stage and gave an impromptu speech that showed he is a true friend to the tourism industry who really “gets it.” He championed the cause to fund VISIT FLORIDA’s budget this past session and we all owe him a big debt of gratitude for his efforts on our behalf.
To say we closed the conference with a bang would be an understatement. Emilio Estefan, famed music producer and part owner of the Miami Dolphins, shared with us how important tourism is to his beloved Miami and then welcomed Latin pop band, Area 305 to the stage to perform several songs. Let me just say that a good time was had by all, including yours truly, as we closed the conference on an equally high note!
For those of you who couldn’t attend the conference this year, I hope I’ve given you a taste of the comradery and excitement that I experienced; and for those of you who were there, I trust I brought back some enjoyable memories. We all left the conference feeling uplifted and motivated to achieve great things for our industry and I know we can accomplish them if we are “all in this together!”
To view pictures from the 42nd Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, please see the slideshow below or go to VISIT FLORIDA’s official Flickr photostream.
President & CEO
Category: Uncategorized | Tags: Area 305, Chris Thompson, Ed Fouche, Emilio Estefan, Flickr, Fontainebleau, Governor Crist, Governors Conference, Joe Gibbons, marketing, Selling the Sunshine, Tourism, VISIT FLORIDA, Will Seccombe | Comment »