Tourism on Florida’s Historic Coast will be reviewed in grand style at the third annual State of the Tourism Industry event to be presented at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 24 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. This special event will feature a review of last year’s tourism performance presented by the Visitors and Convention Bureau and the MMGY Global advertising agency, a presentation by one of the world’s leading tourism experts, and the announcement of 2012’s tourism employees of the year.  


Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast features historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches – the same beaches that greeted Ponce de Leon in 1513 when he discovered and named La Florida.


“Tourism is truly the lifeblood of Florida’s Historic Coast,” said Richard Goldman, executive director of the Visitors and Convention Bureau. “Not only does the industry provide more than 11,000 jobs in St. Johns County, the 3.4 million overnight visitors who came here last year spent more than $660 million during their stay on Florida’s Historic Coast. Best of all, this essential economic activity is provided at no cost to local taxpayers. All of our tourism marketing activities are funded through the tourist development tax paid by visitors for overnight lodging. Last year, visitors paid $6.6 million in these ‘bed taxes’ – funds that were used to encourage millions of potential visitors to come here this year, help fund special events and to make improvements to beach and recreation facilities we all enjoy.”


This year’s review of local tourism will have lots of good news for the industry. Nearly every indicator shows impressive increases in the number of visitors and their spending while here. Clearly, the tourism industry has returned to the levels enjoyed prior to the economic downturn that began in 2008. In fact, recent data indicate tourism activity is nearing or exceeding monthly records.

As part of the event, the Visitors and Convention Bureau will review some of their major successes in placing Florida’s Historic Coast on the list of “must-sees” for millions of Americans. Much of this success has resulted from the Bureau’s contract and close working relationship with the Ypartnership advertising agency of Orlando which recently merged with MMG to form MMGY Global and stake their claim as the world’s unquestioned leaders in tourism marketing.


Once again, the centerpiece of the event will be a presentation by tourism visionary Peter Yesawich whose insights into tourism trends are followed closely by travel professionals worldwide. Formerly the chairman of Ypartnership and now the vice chairman of MMGY Global, Peter’s perspective on travel trends and changing consumer behavior, coupled with his intimate knowledge of Florida’s Historic Coast as a tourist destination will provide compelling information that can be successfully applied throughout the local tourism industry.

The State of the Tourism Industry event will also include the presentation of the coveted Tourism Employee of the Year Awards. The finalists represent the very best tourism employees on Florida’s Historic Coast and were selected on the basis of their exemplary service.


The event will take place at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, I-95 exit 323 in St. Augustine. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for coffee and pastries and the program will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. and end by 11:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend. Admission is $10. To secure a reservation for what is expected be an extremely well-attended event, call Carey Cramer at 829.1711 or email


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