Dear Mr. Suttles:
June 30, 2010
As you are aware, Florida’s economy relies heavily on the tourism industry. Last year alone, more than 80 million visitors traveled to Florida, and in the previous year, tourism generated $65.2 billion in direct economic impact in 2008, comprising 21 percent of Florida’s total taxable sales.
On behalf of the communities, businesses and families that rely on the Sunshine State’s tourism industry, I want to express my appreciation for the $25-million grant BP has provided to Florida for a tourism mass marketing campaign.
These dollars have assisted the state and localcommunities in providing up-to-date, accurate information about the condition of oil on our beaches.
Thankfully, the majority of our coast remains clean and open for business. As we have worked to put those tourism advertising dollars to work, we have seen that every dollar spent allows Florida businesses to stay open, Floridians to keep their jobs, and families to worry less about how to pay their bills.
Your investment in Florida’s tourism marketing not only helps Floridians, but it also benefits your company. Remember that visitors coming to Florida beaches, staying in Florida hotels and eating in Florida restaurants result in fewer claims for economic losses.
Florida has deployed the entirety of the $25 million. Unfortunately, due to the continuation of this event, Florida needs additional funding. It was our understanding that the state and local governments would be able to submit claims directly to BP for these requests.
However, today we were informed by Mr. Darryl Willis during a presentation to the Governor’s Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force in Pensacola, that requests for tourism and marketing dollars must come from the state to BP directly.
As I have met with business owners and families in our affected counties, it is very clear that Floridians would rather work than receive claims checks.
To ensure that opportunity is available to the businesses that rely on the Gulf of Mexico and our beautiful beaches and coastline for their economic security, we respectfully request an additional $50 million for the second round of a tourism marketing and advertising campaign.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Governor Charlie Crist