State Senator: Screw "Visit Florida" - NBC 6 South Florida

State Senator: Screw "Visit Florida"

A Coral Gables ad firm may have picked the wrong time to win the state's tourism marketing campaign



    State Senator: Screw "Visit Florida"
    Ad execs may be forced to depend on sandy beaches and half-naked people to sell tourists on visiting Florida.

    Mad at the half million payout to the recently ousted president of "Visit Florida," the state's advertising arm that promotes tourism, Sen. Mike Fasano told the governor its time to pull the plug on $25 million in taxpayer money dedicated to the agency.

    Fasano said if the agency can afford those kind of deals it doesn't need tax dollars. 

    Pulling tax dollars couldn't come at a worse time for ad firm DDB, which won the advertising contract earlier in the week. That $25 million sure could come in handy when trying to convince people to release the vice grips on their wallets to come to the state.

    Florida's tourism industry took a hit in 2008 when the number of visitors to the state decreased for the first time in seven years. About 82.5 million visitors traveled to Florida in 2008, that's about 2.3 percent less than 2007.

    DDB also promotes the Florida Lottery, even though we're sure execs aren't feeling that lucky after the news that Gov. Charlie Crist may seriously be considering Fasano's veto proposal.

    "I still have great concerns about how they just allowed a contract to rollover for three years, to an individual who in my opinion was not doing the best job possible for Visit Florida," Fasano said. "And now that they have fired him, the taxpayers are still going to have to put out money."