Read this in: German
“Florida ist insofern einzigartig, als es für jeden ein bisschen von allem bietet. Wir haben wunderschöne Strände, warmes Wetter und eine große Auswahl an kulturellen und Outdoor-Aktivitäten..”
Ich habe mich mit Dana Young, Präsidentin und CEO of Visit Florida in Hamburg getroffen und sich ein bisschen über Florida befragt.
C: Hi Dana, it’s great to have you here today. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your job as the president and CEO of Visit Florida?
Dana: Sure, my name is Dana Young and I have the pleasure of being the president and CEO of Visit Florida. We work with the trade and media to promote Florida as the best travel destination in the world. It’s a job that I absolutely love and have been doing for almost four years now.
C That sounds like a very interesting job. I know that Florida recently experienced a storm that caused a lot of damage in some areas. How are you planning to rebuild and bring back tourism to those affected areas?
Dana: Yes, the storm hit some areas in southwest Florida quite hard, but the rest of the state is open and ready to welcome visitors. We have a three-phase plan at Visit Florida to help with this process. The first phase involved sending a team of videographers to record footage of people enjoying Florida in other areas of the state. This was then used to show potential visitors that Florida is still open for business. The second phase involves a cooperative marketing campaign with the 19 counties that received Federal Emergency Response aid. This will help to correct any misconceptions about those areas being closed and show that they are ready to accept visitors. The third phase will be a custom marketing campaign for the most affected areas like Fort Myers when they are ready to welcome visitors back.
C: That’s great to hear. I’m sure many readers are wondering why a popular destination like Florida needs marketing campaigns. Could you explain why marketing is still important?
Dana: Absolutely. Even though Florida is a well-known destination, there are many other vacation spots out there. It’s important to always keep ourselves top of mind through marketing and also show people that there’s more to see and experience than just what they saw on their last visit. Our marketing campaigns actually move the needle domestically, as people who see our advertising at Visit Florida are more than twice as likely to visit compared to those who don’t.
C: That’s really interesting. What makes Florida stand out from other destinations in the US?
Dana: Well, Florida is a unique state because it’s geographically diverse and has pretty much everything that someone could want in a vacation in one state. From beaches and culinary experiences to culture and beautiful natural areas with freshwater springs, we have it all. Plus, we have theme parks and attractions that appeal to all ages, and it’s all easily accessible by car.
C: That sounds amazing. Lastly, could you talk a bit about how the pandemic affected Florida’s tourism industry?
Dana: The pandemic was a unique time for everyone in the world, but Florida’s governor took a different approach and kept the state open and ready to accept visitors. We had a very robust tourism industry throughout the pandemic, and our numbers actually went through the roof. People were comfortable traveling and came to Florida to enjoy the outdoor activities, hiking, biking, and outdoor dining that we offer. We were one of the few destinations in the world that were open for business and it has proven to be the right decision, as our tourism industry is thriving and people were able to keep their jobs and businesses open.
C: Can you tell us, would you say that the tourists have changed before and after the pandemic, and is there a specific type of tourist that Florida wants to attract more?
Dana: I believe that Florida is a very diverse state and welcoming to all types of visitors. We want everyone to feel welcomed and have the best time of their life. So, there’s really no specific ideal tourist, other than people who feel welcomed here.
C: What are your top five favorite places to visit in Florida, and what are the five places that people should definitely see when visiting Florida?
Dana: Sure, I can give you my personal favorites. In the north, I really love the Panhandle of Florida, which has beautiful beaches with clear water and fine sand. The Gulf Coast area, from Crystal River to Naples, is another favorite of mine. The Florida Keys are unique and special, and South Florida on the East Coast has a different vibe with coarser beaches and bigger waves. Lastly, the central part of the state, including Orlando and the northeast part of the state, with Amelia Island, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine, are must-see areas.
C: If someone comes to Florida and can only do two things, what are the must-see experiences that they should not miss?
Dana: It’s hard to pick just two, but I would say that seeing the natural beauty of the state in some of the northern areas, like the freshwater springs and swimming with the Manatees in Crystal River, is a must-do. Additionally, getting on a boat out in the Gulf of Mexico and experiencing the unique beauty of the water is also a must-see.
C: If a woman is traveling alone in Florida and does not want to rent a car, what are the best places to visit without having to take too many cars or drive too long?
Dana: Tampa International Airport is very accessible for European travelers and provides a lot to do in the city of Tampa, like renting a boat or paddleboard, exploring the river walk area, enjoying the cuisine and sports. They can then take an Uber to the surrounding beaches in Pinellas County, like St. Pete, Clearwater, and Dunedin, which have a variety of hotels and attractions for all budgets. It’s a great way to experience Florida without having to rent a car.
Vielen lieben Dank für das Interview. Mehr gibt es auch hier: