TALLAHASSEE — Now that the dust has settled from Hurricane Irma, Visit Florida, the taxpayer-funded tourism organization, is beginning the second phase of its aggressive efforts to bring tourists back to Florida.
"We are doubling down on our efforts to show visitors across the world that Florida is open for business," Ken Lawson, CEO of Visit Florida, said in a statement Thursday.
The organization is pushing its ads across broadcast, print, transit and digital billboard mediums in markets that typically feed into Florida tourism to help dispel any rumors that the Sunshine State isn't recovered enough to welcome visitors.
The ads, which will include photos of popular Florida tourist destinations post-storm, will run from Oct. 16 through Nov. 26. Visit Florida sent video crews out shortly after the hurricane to showcase businesses and locations that recovered quickly.
Both phases of the campaign cost $5 million combined.
Among the cities in which the ads will appear are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
One of the broadcast ads released online Wednesday features a compilation of sunny beaches and harbors in St. Petersburg, the Keys, Coconut Grove and Grayton Beach in the weeks following Hurricane Irma. It closes by imploring viewers to "Find your moment of sunshine."
The first phase of the marketing campaign focused on Facebook Live videos, which Visit Florida said garnered 4.9 million viewers.
Visit Florida is aiming to bring a record 120 million tourists to the state this year.
The positive push comes just as the organization was thrust into a more negative light: State lawmakers continue to investigate Visit Florida's spending habits. The latest: The Florida House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee will subpoena records from C. Patrick Roberts, who had contracts with Visit Florida.
A Naples Daily News report said that the organization committed to paying MAT Media LLC, Roberts' company, $2.8 million in 2012.
Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.