Florida’s tourism marketing agency is co-producing a streamed television show aimed at attracting people to the Tampa Bay area as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery effort.
Visit Florida has been working with Visit St. Pete / Clearwater for almost a year – for $ 275,000 each – on an eight-part show called “Life’s Rewards,” which was streamed Monday on platforms such as Amazon Prime, YouTube, GoUSA TV and Places . To travel.
Heads of state have sought to eliminate Visit Florida in recent years, in part over controversial expenses including sponsorship of London’s Fulham Football Club and a car racing team, and contracts with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and rapper Pitbull.
But Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young, a former member of the House and Senate, said the contracts for “Life’s Rewards” went before lawmakers.
“Visit Florida produced the project with its regular agency partners, all of which were discontinued after an open and competitive contract award and approval of the contracts by Florida lawmakers,” Young said in a statement. “Visit Florida and Visit St. Pete / Clearwater hold sole ownership of the production – no private production company or other organization has the ability to monetize or otherwise benefit from this project.”
Funding for the program came from the current fiscal year when Visit Florida received $ 50 million in government funding. Legislators last month agreed to allocate an additional $ 50 million for fiscal year beginning July 1 and added $ 25 million in federal stimulus funds to “conduct activities to boost the Florida’s tourism industry and its recovery from COVID- 19 support and finance through advertising and marketing activities. Services, functions and programs. “
The show is described on the entertainment website IMDb as “an ambitious young manager finds his career and life in turmoil after losing his fortune to a series of high-risk deals. Stranded in paradise, he is humiliated by the employees of a hotel who force him to reevaluate what life really is. “
Forbes called it “a brand new genre of television marketing for a tourism organization”.
Visit Florida hopes to attract people to the area by making the Tampa Bay Market a part of the show, with action from The Don CeSar hotel in St. Pete Beach to a variety of outdoor and indoor activities .
“People travel from all over the world to experience the places they saw in movies or TV shows, from the tens of thousands of visitors who come to Dyersville, Iowa every year to see the baseball diamond in Field of Dreams see, to women flocking to New York City for ‘Sex and the City’ vacations, to ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans visiting Croatia and New Zealand just to walk in to put the fictional lands of Westeros or Middle-earth, “Young said. “Our goal with this project is to consciously capture visitors who experience the travel destination throughout the series and not as a random by-product.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and government spending cuts on Visit Florida, the state took $ 3.27 for every dollar it spent on tourism marketing over the three-year period beginning July 1, 2016, according to the in published this year by the Legislature’s Office for Economic and Demographic Research.
State and local tourism agencies have been working on the show with Odyssey, the Studio at Miles Partnership, since last summer.
As COVID-19 ends a decade of record-breaking Florida tourism numbers, Young says the success of “Life’s Rewards” will be based on “advertising value equivalents such as engagement and viewing rates,” much like how we rate our video advertising performance. “
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