Gov. Rick Scott on Friday rolled out two VISIT FLORIDA Hurricane Michael assistance programs to offer “critical relief and support” to storm-ravaged Panhandle and Big Bend counties.

Per a media release: “The Tourism Recovery Grant Program for Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Michael Recovery Marketing Program are available to Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties, and are designed to assist the areas to market their destinations once hurricane-damaged areas are open to visitors.”

VISIT FLORIDA rolled out a $9 million commitment in October; these monies follow that commitment, with $5 million in marketing funds for the affected areas.

Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said the “programs will provide support to the affected counties and enable our destinations to show visitors that Florida is ready to welcome them back.”

CFO Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City Republican, was likewise buoyant, saying the programs would “amplify the message that Northwest Florida is open for business, and we are building a better, stronger Florida.”

Sen. George Gainer and Bill Montford extolled the spend, as did state Reps. Ramon AlexanderLoranne AusleyBrad Drake, and Jay Trumbull.

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