TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – With ads now running in East Coast markets promoting colorful, uncluttered parts of Florida, the state’s tourism leader said Wednesday her agency will continue “aggressive” marketing.

Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young told participants in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s virtual Future of Florida Forum that the second phase of a roughly $13 million marketing effort is underway to revive the state’s tourism industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first phase involved trying to spur Floridians to explore the state.

“We want American travelers to understand the power of a Florida vacation and that our state has an abundance of safe vacation opportunities that can be enjoyed year-round,” Young said. “As people become more comfortable traveling and travel restrictions ease, Visit Florida will continue to be aggressive in our approach to attract visitors from across the world to our state.”

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Young added the agency’s goal remains making Florida the nation’s top destination for overseas visitors by 2030, the target year in a recent chamber foundation research project.

“My message today is simple,” Young said. “Visit Florida is 100 percent committed to doing everything possible to accelerate the recovery of Florida’s tourism industry. If we can expedite the recovery of travel, we can see the overall recovery of Florida’s economy.”

The pandemic cut travel to the state by more than 60 percent in the second quarter of the year, and the hospitality and leisure fields continue to struggle.

The first phase of the tourism effort used $3.4 million of marketing campaign money that had been held over from the spring, when the pandemic largely shut down the industry.

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