Guest: It’s your turn to weigh in on the future of tourism

275-nancy-e-shaver-cosa-mayGuest: It’s your turn to weigh in on the future of tourism

Hon. Nancy E. Shaver, Mayor
City of St Augustine, FL

I would like Historic City News readers to know that the Tourist Development Council is building a new 5-year strategic plan to answer the question; “what should tourism in St Johns County look like in the future?”

A few of the issues that have been identified are quality of the visitor experience, demand on visitor related infrastructure, visitor expectations, preservation of historical structures, cultural and natural assets, visitor economic yields and tourism sustainability, as well as various workforce considerations.

• Tourism is a big part of our economy, but who should we be trying to attract?
• What should the experience for the visitor be like?
• What does growth in tourism mean for our City?

If you have thoughts to share attend the Focus Group meeting for the Public on September 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the County Auditorium, 500 San Sebastian View, St Augustine, and give your views.

Since its purpose is to develop and enhance our tourism economy, state law says “bed tax” funds can ONLY be spent:

• To promote and advertise tourism in this state and nationally and internationally;
• To fund convention bureaus, tourist bureaus, tourist information centers, and news bureaus as county agencies or by contract with the chambers of commerce or similar associations
• To acquire, construct, extend, enlarge, remodel, repair, improve, maintain, operate, or promote publicly owned convention centers, sports stadiums, sports arenas, coliseums, auditoriums, zoos; public or non-profit aquariums or museums
• To finance beach park facilities or beach improvement, maintenance, re-nourishment, restoration, and erosion control.

As you weigh in Wednesday evening, it’s good to keep in mind the types of expenditures Florida law allows the TDC to consider. For example, we use them to pay for our fireworks, Nights of Lights, and over $500,000 in grants to support cultural events, including living history on our streets.

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