Monday, April 24, 2017

April Tourist Talks from the Franklin County Tourist Development Council

April TDC News
Numbers :  
            - Collections:  The most recent TDC Tax collection information is in for the month of January 2017. The Collections for January totaled  $ 41,668.57. This compares with $47,001 from January 2016. While this year’s number is down for the month, the first quarter of the year shows a 26% increase over the previous year (2015-2016) which was an increase of 11% over the year before. (2014-2015). Both October and April, which used to be shoulder months generating around $50,000 in tax revenue are now approaching $100,000 for two years in a row. This is significant growth in two shoulder “off season” months.  
- Visitor Centers: Franklin County Visitor Centers saw 3,532 visitors in March 2017, as opposed to 3,017 in the previous year. This first quarter of 2017 was up almost 500 over last year.
- Web Hits:  There were  22,022 visitors to our web site in March 2017.  This was the busiest month so far for web traffic
            Staff have arranged to have the May 4th edition of the WJHG Morning Show with Kayla Gaskins be broadcast from Apalachicola. The show begins at 6:00 A.M. and will feature local notables as Chamber Director John Solomon, Charter Boat Captain Krista Miller, Homes Tour Representative Bella Rudo, and representatives from Paddlejam and Plein Air Artists.
The TDC is currently working on its budget proposal for the 2017-18 fiscal year which will be finalized at the May 10 meeting of the TDC Board.  The budget will include broad categories of expenditures for all expenses. The TDC will hear recommendations for the use of approved promotional monies at their meeting in August.
            The TDC will be reviewing contracts for the coming year will be the subject of discussion at the TDC Board in May and June.  All TDC Contracts will be reviewed including those for Vendors, Non-profit Sustainable Grants and Visitor Centers.  In addition, the TDC Board will be discussing the $2,000 promotional grant program.  .   
Legislature Review:
            The Legislature is still debating cuts to Visit Florida’s budget.  This battle will not be resolved until the end of the session. The TDC recently transmitted letters to our delegation in support of Visit Florida.
            In addition the Board submitted letters to our Congressional delegation in support of the National Estuarine Reserve Program.
            In the next couple of months the TDC will be releasing several initiatives including:
-       Six public service announcements prepared in conjunction with a Visit Florida Grant.
-       A Pet Friendly promotion which will include a video, rack cards and inventory of pet friendly venues throughout the county.
-       A Video focusing on protection of our turtle habitat – thanks in part to a request by Commissioner Parrish
-       A new focus on wildflower corridor protection spearheaded by Commissioner Sanders with our Marketing partner Big Bend Scenic By-ways.
Lodging Providers:
            The TDC will be conducting a series of workshops for local lodging providers over the next several months. Key topics will be how to utilize TDC promotional efforts in lodging marketing strategies. Providers will receive notice of meetings dates and times as soon as a schedule has been finalized.
Travel Writers:
            This month the TDC is helping to sponsor travel writer contributors to a number of publications in the US and Germany. Publications for which these writers provide material include: Atlanta Magazine, AAA, The Local Palate Magazine, Garden and Gun and two German publications: “Saarbrucker Zeitung + Pfalzer Merkus” and “Die Woch”.
US Highway 98 “Old Florida Coastal Trail”:
            Franklin County has been a participant in a pilot planning effort with Dixie and Taylor Counties and the Apalachee Regional Planning Council and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. When completed the project will include a marketing program designed to attract visitors originating in Orlando looking to visit areas of the state that are authentic representations of Florida’s coastal history.  Marketing efforts are expected to begin in the fall.
The next TDC Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday May 10 at 2:00 P.M. at the EPVC..

Franklin County Tourist Development Council • 731 Hwy. 98, Eastpoint, FL 32329 • 866-914-2068