Walton Chamber celebrates National Tourism Day

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 04:01 PM.

Surprising to many, Phipps said that Russians rank in the Top 8 of travelers to Florida, and Brazil has overtaken the U.K. in visiting our state.

"Ninety-five percent that visit Florida come back. We're the leader, but being chased," he said.

 He then tackled the question that has been tossed around a lot lately — “Is there a need to market the state?”

"Yes," he said. "There are 32-million visitors to the state each year who are baby boomers. As they age, they will quit traveling so much and we must replace them. We want to get the point across that Florida is not where you go to retire but to experience life. We want it to be a destination for young travelers and families. We want them to know that there is something for everyone in this state. We want to grow it."

Phipps said that Visit Florida does its part in this through storytelling.

"Our mission is to promote and drive tourism. At Visit Florida, we don't sell anything but inspiration. We're about inspiration and telling stories."

Speaking for the TDC, Ervin said his organization is shifting its focus to the shoulder season and recruiting affluent travelers.

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