Letters to the Editor

Budget vs. tourism

I was brought up with the ideal that memories made are more important than things. As a sales and concierge agent for a luxury villa rental company, I help people make memories through traveling.

But I am afraid for the future of tourism in Florida. The proposed Florida House budget, released last week, cuts Visit Florida’s funding from $76 million to just $25 million. This move would significantly hamper the efforts of regions like the Florida Keys to draw new and returning visitors.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that Floridians would have to pay more than $1,500 in additional taxes to sustain current essential services if we lost a significant portion of visitors to competing states. A new Florida TaxWatch study found if Florida were to see just 5 million fewer visitors next year, we would lose more than 71,000 jobs. How many of those jobs would be here in the Keys?

House members representing South Florida and throughout the state should support the Senate proposal of $76 million funding for Visit Florida.

Johnny McRae, Key West