Florida wants to spread tourist spending and foot traffic beyond its beaches and hotspots. It'll be tough as the American international travel boom continues to chip away at domestic tourism.
Florida is highlighting its nature trails and trail towns in a $5 million marketing campaign.
Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency, wants tourists to think beyond beaches and explore rural towns and the statewide system of trails and greenways.
“Most people know that we have 825 miles of beautiful beaches,” said Visit Florida CEO and President Dana Young. “What people may not know is that we have over 15,000 miles of trails, not just traditional hiking trails, but biking trails, horseback trails, scuba diving trails, paddle and kayak trails.”
The $5 million was allocated from its budget specifically by the state government to develop marketing for nature-based tourism and trail towns. The agency received a total of $80 million from the state legislature for the fiscal year – its highest ever.
The campaign will include video promotions and collaborations with content creators and journalists. Trails like Capital City to the Sea, Phil Foster Park Snorkel and Santa Fe River will be highlighted.
The marketing push will target the Northeast, Midwest and markets on the West Coast like California, Portland and Seattle. It will be an extension of Visit Florida’s overall Outdoors and Nature campaign, Beyond the Expected. For Florida residents, it will be an extension of the agency’s ongoing LoveFL campaign.
For the past few years, Visit Florida has embraced marketing for areas and experiences beyond beaches and Disney. A growing number of tourism promotion agencies since the pandemic have prioritized marketing lesser known areas.
The campaign comes as U.S. domestic tourism businesses and boards report a slowdown in their growth of visitors and revenue as Americans opt to travel abroad. Florida, which had a strong 2022, hasn’t been immune to it. “We saw in the first six months of the year, so our Q2 numbers, about a 1% decrease over last year, so it’s very slight but it’s real,” said Young.
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