TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s tourism marketing agency, which has come under fire in the past year for signing a secret contract with rapper Pitbull and other expenses, was forced this week to sign a new contract with an advertising firm after a newspaper pointed out the initial contract called for advertising to potential Syrian tourists.
Visit Florida officials on Friday said a “clerical error” caused them to include Syria on a list of countries the agency planned to target in a Middle Eastern advertising campaign.
President Donald Trump included Syria, which has been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. Department of State, on a list of countries covered by a temporary travel ban that has been challenged in court. Back in late 2015, Gov. Rick Scott asked Congress to block attempts by the Obama administration to relocate Syrian refugees to Florida.
Visit Florida CEO Ken Lawson signed a $14,000 contract with a German advertising firm back in March that included Syria and nine other Middle Eastern countries.
After The Naples Daily News (https://goo.gl/oaeukh ) asked questions, Visit Florida signed a new contract Wednesday that listed only Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.