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TOURISM DROP HITS EVERY FLORIDIAN IN POCKETBOOK

 TOURISM DROP HITS EVERY FLORIDIAN IN POCKETBOOK
 TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The 1.7 million fewer


Florida visitors in 1991 compared to 1990 reported today by the Department of Commerce created a shortfall in state tax revenues that equaled $5.55 for every man, woman and child in the state.
 That is the conclusion of the Florida Tourism Association, which said today's announcement, coupled with its own recent survey of the attitude of legislators toward tourism, calls for a new consciousness of the importance of tourism to the pocketbook of every resident.
 "Sixty percent of the legislators responding to our third Annual Survey reported the people they represent just tolerate or actually dislike tourism," FTA President John E. Evans said. "More than half reported a belief that tourism as an element of the economy 'is not appreciated.'"
 Evans said the states' report that 1991 visits were off 4.1 percent from 1990 -- the first dip in more than a decade -- "should be a wake-up call to the Legislature and all of us who live here that we need to make the effort to keep Florida competitive in the worldwide tourism marketplace. We've slipped badly in comparison to the spending and effort by other destinations in the U.S. and abroad, and the quality of our marketing will make a difference as to how quickly and how far this key element of our economy recovers as the recession abates."
 Based on the state report that gross tourism sales were up 1.6 percent over 1990 without adjustment for inflation, the tourism education organization estimated that the reduction in visitors cost the General Revenue Fund -- which had been budgeted in anticipation of visitor increases -- $73,712,000, or $5.55 for each of Florida's estimated 13,273,000 residents. In addition, FTA estimates that the visitor fall-off caused a loss of nearly 30,000 hospitality community jobs, with a payroll value in excess of $330 million.
 "All of us who live in Florida need to remember that those tourists are the source of employment for one of every five workers. They pay better than 20 percent of the taxes collected by the state -- far more than they have been shown to cost in the services they require," FTA's president said. "Other states and nations have seen how well we've done and are aggressively going after the visitors we've taken for granted. We need to turn attitudes around or the costs will soar."
 -0- 3/5/92
 /CONTACT: John E. Evans, president of the Florida Tourism Association, 904-239-9759/ CO: Florida Tourism ST: Florida IN: SU: ECO


SS-AW -- FL003 -- 5388 03/05/92 11:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 5, 1992
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