Report points to VISIT FLORIDA return on investment

A new state report says VISIT FLORIDA provides a good return on investment, even as the tourism marketing agency faced years of efforts by House leaders to shut it down.

Florida took in $3.27 for every dollar the state spent on tourism marketing over a three-year period, before cuts in funding for the agency and before COVID-19 sent the travel and leisure industries into a tailspin, according to the report released Monday by the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research.

The return over three fiscal years that started July 1, 2016, was more than in the three preceding fiscal years, the economic research staff determined.

It helped that the state, with 1,350 miles of sunny shoreline and a variety of theme parks, was experiencing year-after-year tourism records, while lawmakers provided a “limited increase” in funding.

The research office found the estimated return, up from $2.15 per dollar in the prior three-year period, “is reflective of VISIT FLORIDA’s return in periods of strong tourism growth and state investments at their current levels.”

The report equated tourist spending to exports of products from the state.

“The more tourists there are, the more ‘exported’ goods and services

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