FLORIDA REopening plans for tourism to soar in 2018 article A new initiative to expand tourism in Florida is opening for business, but the state’s tourism industry will not see a significant boost from the new fiscal year.
The Tourism Department announced plans to open new locations on the west coast and Florida’s east coast in 2018, as well as in Hawaii, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and other places in the Caribbean.
It will also reopen several existing ones in 2018.
But those plans will not bring a significant economic boost, the department said, and it would be premature to declare the state open for business.
The Florida Department of Tourism, Tourism Industries Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce were among groups that filed comments in support of the new plan in the state legislature last week.
The department is expected to make a final decision on its plans by July.
“We are excited to have this new opportunity to expand Florida’s tourist and cultural economy by opening new tourist destinations and establishing new locations in Hawaii and Puerto Rico,” Tourism Secretary J.D. Gordon said in a statement.
“We look forward to providing our visitors with a great travel experience, while keeping our state competitive in attracting visitors to our state.”
The plan to open more destinations comes as the state is preparing to reopen some of its existing destinations in the future, including St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Walton Beach and Orlando.
Those reopened locations, however, are in areas that are still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
The state is also planning to reopen some of the state parks that were closed in the aftermath of the storm.
There are also plans to expand the number of state parks in Florida by opening more locations and establishing more locations in the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations, as the tourism industry has struggled in the past to maintain its current level of growth.
The state tourism department also said it is opening more tourist-oriented hotels and restaurants, which have been a focus of some critics of the plan.
Tourism was a big driver of Florida’s economic growth before the recession, Gordon said.
Tourism accounted for roughly one-third of the $7.5 billion in economic output that the state generated during that time.
The tourism industry also helped to provide nearly one-fifth of Florida residents with a vacation.
This story was updated at 5:23 p.m. with comment from the Department of Commerce.