U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement in response to Governor Rick Scott's announcement of a special legislative session next week to address VISIT FLORIDA funding: 

“We’re very encouraged that steps are in motion to restore VISIT FLORIDA to a full or near-full funding level in the new state budget.

“We’re grateful to Gov. Scott and to the millions of Floridians whose livelihoods depend on travel for this hard-fought outcome that maintains adequate resources to continue Florida’s tourism marketing efforts.

“Those who think that Florida’s robust tourism economy happens by accident or divine right are ignoring a wealth of data that states that cut tourism promotion funding inevitably see their tourism income plummet—and it takes years or decades to recover their market share even after they realize their mistake. Speaking as a Florida resident, I will be relieved beyond words if next week’s special legislative session yields a result that prevents our state from having to learn that lesson the hard way.

“Though taxpayers are absolutely correct to demand accountability for how their dollars are spent, I wish we never had to have the debate over whether keeping VISIT FLORIDA fully funded is worthwhile, because the evidence is just so decisive. All credit to an enormous, statewide team effort that has brought us back from a worst-case scenario—as well as to the commitment of Gov. Scott, Sens. Latvala and Negron, and other cooler heads in Tallahassee.”

U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org.