For the first time in history, the Governor’s Conference on Tourism is to be held in the Tampa Bay area. The annual event is an opportunity for businesses and the government to talk about the future of tourism in the state. More than a thousand tourism boosters from Key West to Pensacola are expected to attend.
The 49th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism is being held at the Tampa Convention Center located at 333 South Franklin Street. The conference runs from Monday to Wednesday.
During the conference, Visit Florida, the state’s tourism industry agency, will unveil its five-year plan to improve and increase tourism in the state. Visit Florida president and CEO Will Seccombe said in a statement posted by the Tampa Bay Times, “It’s the one time a year where big businesses and small businesses in Florida’s tourism industry get together and reflect on what’s happened and where we’re going. There’s a lot of work to be done during these few days.”
Tourism is Florida’s biggest economic driver. More than 1 million people are currently employed by the Florida tourism industry. Florida as a whole has experienced four years of record-breaking growth in tourism. Last year, more than 97 million visitors came to the state. According to Visit Florida, more than 54 million visitors came to the state in the first six months of this year, putting the state on pace for another record breaking year.
Seccombe said, “We’ve had tremendous momentum and success over the last few years. But we need to double down and look at every way we can continue to build on this.” He continued, “We’re operating in a hyperactive global industry that is very competitive. Billions of dollars are being spent to lure people to other destinations and away from Florida. The conference is a place for us to come up with fresh and inspiring ideas to stay ahead of the curve.”
This is also the first time the event will be held in a convention center. Seccombe said, “As the event continues to grow, there’s not a whole lot of hotels in the state that can handle the amount of meeting space and number of rooms we need.” Seccombe commented that the conference is expected to shatter its record for attendance this year.