DAYTONA BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new $13 million ad campaign to encourage Floridians to vacation in the state leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The video ad encourages people to take advantage of the state’s golf courses, beaches, fishing and other outdoor activities. He made the announcement in Daytona Beach along with VISIT FLORIDA CEO and President Dana Young.
“This new intrastate marketing campaign is the latest step we’re taking to help get people back to work,” said Governor DeSantis. “While the pandemic is not over, and safety remains paramount, we encourage Floridians to venture out of their homes to enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer.”
DeSantis said it’s safe to visit theme parks and other Florida destinations.
“I think there’s a lot of pent up demand to kind of do some stuff. I think it’s a rough patch for so many people throughout our country,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis noted that he never ordered the state’s beaches to close during what he called “hysteria in the air” in the early days of the pandemic, and that helped Daytona Beach weather the economic crisis better than other areas.
“People said ‘You have to do that, that’s just so important.’ I did not do that, I was criticized for it, of course, but it was the right decision,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also said he’s looking at increasing the capacity at restaurants and reopening bars.
“My sense of some of these rigid capacity requirements probably aren’t necessary at this point because I think people understand how to distance, how to do different things,” DeSantis said.
Tourism in Florida accounts for more than 1.5 million jobs and $91 billion in revenue in 2019. But, due to a global downturn in travel caused by COVID-19, Florida visitation dropped by more than 60 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)