ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Images of storm-ravaged coastlines and ruined buildings have dominated headlines for a week since Hurricane Ian made landfall.
It’s not the image the state’s tourism marketing agency wants to project to the rest of the country.
As cleanup efforts continue in the hardest hit parts of the state, Visit Florida is working to let people know most of the Sunshine State is open for business.
The agency, which released a 60-second promo in July -- put a pause on its advertising campaign last week as Ian hit Southwest Florida and moved across the state.
Now the agency is already putting together a new ad campaign to promote the state.
The goal is to highlight Florida tourist spots, while also offsetting images of damage from Hurricane Ian.
Visit Florida is filming “blue sky” footage in parts of the state that were NOT seriously impacted by Ian.
The agency said it has already recorded images of Jacksonville, Amelia Island, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Palm Beach, and Destin.
It will also soon film in St Augustine and the Florida Keys.
News4JAX viewers know that St. Augustine WAS impacted by Ian with much of the tourist section of downtown underwater last week, but Visit Florida wants to send a message that tourists can return to the area now.
Overall, Florida tourism has gotten back on track since the pandemic.
Records show 36 million people visited the Sunshine State in the first quarter of 2022 -- that’s up nearly 40% from 2021 and 1.3% above the first quarter of 2019.
This isn’t the first time Visit Florida has done this. The agency started similar campaigns to fight negative attention connected to algae blooms and Zika.
The agency also says when the most impacted areas are ready for visitors again, a welcome package will be in the works.