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Visit Jacksonville CEO says leaders unintentionally hurting tourism

10:56 AM, Sep 3, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- City leaders are getting a cold dose of reality from one of their own.

Paul Astelford was appointed as C.E.O. of Visit Jacksonville earlier this year.

In an article appearing in Monday's Florida Times-Union, he says a major philosophical overhaul is needed among city leaders.

Astelford tells our news gathering partner there is no reason why Jacksonville should not be a national and international destination already.

He says there are natural attractions like the ocean and the St. Johns River.

The problem, he believes, is "inward" thinking among city groups.

He tells the Florida Times-Union that he has visited with 32 city groups and organizations since January.

And while he believes they all have Jacksonville's best interest at heart, he sees them as promoting their own agendas.

Astelford did not tell the Times-Union which groups he was talking about specifically.

The latest numbers from Visit Jacksonville show nearly three million people visited Jacksonville in 2009 and spent a combined total of roughly one billion dollars.

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