The Okaloosa County Commission recently approved sending the county’s top tourism official to a travel trade show in London hoping of attracting high-spending Brits to the Emerald Coast.
The networking trip is based on the county’s goal of luring no more tourists, but visitors who save money money.
The commission agreed Aug. 7 to invest $14,900 in county Tourist Development Department funds to possess TDD Director Jennifer Adams and Digital Marketing Strategist Kerry Sutsko attend the planet Travel Market in London from Nov. 5-7.
Adams, september who was simply hired because the new TDD director last, prefers the department be known as the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The CVB would reap the benefits of attending (the travel trade show) as the English-speaking international visitor aligns with this future brand and strategy,” Adams wrote in her recent agenda request to the commission.
She said the bureau would partner with Visit Florida and Visit Pensacola for a more substantial presence at the show.
“Currently, we’ve no solid footprint in virtually any international market, and aligning with Visit Florida, which does, can be an cost-effective and appropriate point of entry,” Adams said in her written request. “Alongside exhibiting, we will be a part of all media events through the show.”
In fiscal 2019, the county anticipates collecting $20.5 million during intercourse tax revenue, year which may match the full total projected because of this budget.
Adams told the commission that certain of the CVB’through the September to May timeframe s goals would be to increase bed tax revenue by ten percent.
Like county and commissioners Tourist Development Council members, Adams has publicly said the county must attract higher-spending visitors  often;— a lot of whom result from foreign countries — than more tourists rather.
A general market trends report compiled for the county discovered that 1,890 visitors from foreign countries visited Okaloosa through the first quarter (October-December) of fiscal 2018. That total was significantly less than 1 percent of the 209,900 overall amount of visitors throughout that right timeframe.
According to CVB data, a lot of the foreign visitors are from Canada.
The general market trends report showed that almost 1 / 2 of the county’s overall amount of visitors in the initial quarter of fiscal ‘18 originated from the Southeast, while 25 % originated from states in the Midwest almost. Overall, the majority of the visitors were 35 yrs . old or younger and had children income of $75,000 or less.
County officials desire to see bigger spenders.
At the commission’july 30 budget workshop s, TDC and commissioner member Kelly Windes spoke concerning the have to “ obtain the quality of our clientele up&rdquo back; to where it had been prior to the 2010 BP oil spill, and before many businesses discounted their rates to lure visitors.
Adams said at the workshop that the CVB’s vision is “to raise our destination from the commodity brand, that is predicated on price, to an extravagance brand, that is predicated on emotional connection and can position Destin ultimately, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island as a premier family destination within america: not Florida, not the Southeast, however the USA. We’re gonna go big or we’re likely to go back home.”
That vision was described at the Aug also. 7 meeting.
Commissioner Nathan Boyles said that before Adams was hired, he “opposed&rdquo steadfastly; foreign travel by TDD members, such as for example “frivolous” Emerald Coast Film Commission trips to Canada.
But, the county must concentrate on attracting visitors from the united kingdom along with other foreign markets who “feature a large amount of money” and travel on airplanes, Boyles said.
Commission Chairman Graham Fountain said he noticed plenty of folks from the united kingdom during his visits to places such as for example Miami Beach and Disney World.
Those tourists “do eat in expensive restaurants plus they do spend a whole bundle, therefore i think that is (funding for the CVB visit to London) is most likely well-spent,” Fountain said.
Adams agreed with county Comptroller J.D. Peacock’s obtain her to supply a post-trip return-on-investment report.