<News Service of Florida>
Florida’s tourism-marketing arm Thursday awarded about $230,000 to communities that suffered damage in Hurricane Michael. Visit Florida announced the Franklin County Tourist Development Council will get $174,000 and the Holmes County Tourist Development Council is receiving $55,000 for marketing efforts in recovering from the Oct. 10 storm. “It’s clear that tourism is vital to Northwest Florida, and Visit Florida will continue to protect this industry by maximizing visitation and the tax revenue it generates,” Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young said in a statement.
Last month, Visit Florida spread $858,000 to the Panama City Community Development Council, the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and the tourist development councils of Gulf, Jackson and Washington counties. The latest funding comes amid a legislative debate about the future of Visit Florida. The House is offering to only cover the costs of the agency through Oct. 1, when Visit Florida is slated to be eliminated unless it is reauthorized. The Senate, which has a bill (SB 178) to reauthorize the agency, has proposed spending $50 million next year on Visit Florida, $26 million less than requested by Gov. Ron DeSantis.