Letters to the Editor

Visit Florida helps our tourism

As a 790-room oceanfront property in South Beach, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel has been welcoming tourists and corporate groups for 18 years. However, the destination is ultimately the first sell.

When meeting planners are considering bringing a group to Loews Miami Beach Hotel, they’re not just considering other properties in Florida. They’re looking also at hotels in Arizona, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.

The same can be said for a leisure traveler — it’s all about the destination. That’s where Visit Florida comes into play. After all, if we’re not first selling the state, the job of selling our resort becomes more difficult. From the hotel side, we’re not promoting Florida’s beaches; we’re promoting our property’s amenities and services.

Visit Florida and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau lead the charge in attracting tourists to our state, creating brand awareness for the destination and generating excitement for Florida’s unique offerings. All of this is impactful and important to drive business to Florida.

But on Tuesday a House Appropriations Committee voted in favor of a bill that would severely cut funding to Visit Florida.

There is supports for the state’s marketing agency. State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater recently said, “We cannot turn our back on tourism and the 1.2 million Floridians employed in the industry. With the help of Visit Florida, Florida’s economy is strong and the data clearly depicts our jobs, revenue and out-of-state visitors are all increasing. Eliminating Visit Florida would be a tremendous disservice to our state.”

Our 650 team members and I are grateful to legislators such as Senator Latvala for standing up for the tourism industry. I hope lawmakers in the House will consider the negative repercussions and vote no on legislation to eliminate Visit Florida.

Alex Tonarelli,

managing director,

Loews Miami Beach Hotel

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