Local tourism boards are preparing to highlight areas of Florida that weren’t devastated by Hurricane Ian in hopes of bringing visitors back to Florida.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More than a week after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, devastating images and stories continue to pour in from Southwest Florida. And while Northeast Florida experienced some significant flooding, many businesses that focus on tourism are operating at full capacity again and ready to return to normal life.
First Coast dodged a bullet and the local tourist boards want the rest of the country to know it. Visit Florida is in the process of showcasing tourism in the parts of the state that were not devastated by Hurricane Ian, and that includes the beaches, museums and attractions of the First Coast. A statement issued by Visit Florida to First Coast News read in part:
- VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing turnaround effort is already underway. Videographers have been deployed across the state to capture beautiful blue-sky images of unaffected areas of the state, including Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Tallahassee and Amelia Island. Filming for St. Augustine and the Florida Keys will roll out soon. This content, along with PR programming and talking points, will be ready for use when the time is right for statewide promotion, including banner ads, videos and social media. Promotional game shows will resume next week.
There is also a local tourism push specific to Jacksonville, Visit Jacksonville has its largest advertising budget in its organization’s history and will restart its advertising campaign targeting other cities in the Southeast and East Coast.
With just a quick trip south on A1A, the city of St. Augustine is on the mend. St. George Inn owner Irving Kass says it is open to the public after the flood.
“We actually opened at noon on Friday (September 30), which was our plan all along,” Kass said, “Our hearts go out to the people affected by the hurricane and we were lucky that it was 100 miles from the walking around town, all the restaurants are open, the weather is great, and we’re going to be packed this weekend.”
Tourism is as good as gold in St. Augustine, which is fitting because a quick 2-block walk from the St. George Inn leads to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. Pirate and Treasure Museum executive director Cindy Stavely said after the flooding receded between Thursday and Friday, her business was open and ready for visitors on Saturday.
“The tourism community is a tight-knit community and we’re all here to help and support each other,” Stavely said, “we’re a tight-knit community, everyone knows everyone.”
A different sense of community is also set to descend on Duval County; The Jaguars have 6 home games left this season, including this Sunday, October 9 against the Houston Texans.
Later this month, one of college football’s greatest rivalries gets a makeover when defending national champion Georgia takes on Florida at TIAA Bank Field on October 29.
The tourist boards are ready to show the rest of the country what we already know, that after the storm the First Coast recovered and that life is good.
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