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First Coast leaders planning trip to capitol to promote tourism

10:04 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Community leaders on the First Coast will be in Tallahassee on Wednesday to promote tourism.

The capitol is hosting a lobbying event called Florida Tourism Day for the ongoing legislative session.

It will be a chance for cities across the state to ask lawmakers for more funding and legislation geared toward promoting tourism.

The group making the trip from the First Coast consists for tourist leaders from Jacksonville, Duval County, St. Augustine and Amelia Island.

Specifics about the trip were not made available to First Coast News on deadline, but we have learned a few details.

Visit Jacksonville Spokeswoman Patty Jimenez said Monday the trip will be geared toward attracting more people to the state.

She said it is vital to showcase Florida's culture and natural landscape for economic reasons.

Governor Rick Scott said last week, 2012 saw record tourism spending to the tune of more than 70 billion dollars.

For Jacksonville, Jimenez said the latest numbers show tourism spending reaching nearly $2 billion.

That, she said, translates into $176 in savings for taxpayers because tourists generate new tax revenue.

"It's not just about having people come to Jacksonville and see our beaches and see our downtown, it's actually about them leaving an economic impact in here," Jimenez said.

Aside from the economics of tourism, Jimenez said First Coast leaders will also voice their opposition Wednesday to a law regarding out of country drivers.

The law requires them to get an international driver's permit before coming to Florida.

Jimenez said Visit Jacksonville is opposed to the legislation because it is hurtful to snowbirds.

"The legislators made a decision last week to reverse that, which is great. A lot of our visitors come from Canada. They come driving. They're snowbirds, so they spend the seasons here. So that is important for us," she said.

Governor Scott has said he plans on reversing the legislation.

You can read more about Florida Tourism Day here.

First Coast News

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