The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners has approved $1 million in emergency funds for Tourist Development Council marketing efforts and a separate $1 million for TDC-funded capital improvement projects following Hurricane Irma. Allocations are to come from the TDC’s emergency reserves.
Meeting Wednesday at the Harvey Government Center in Key West, the BOCC approved the request after a presentation by representatives of the TDC and its advertising agency, Tinsley Advertising.
“If people don’t start putting money back in their pockets, we’re going to lose even more of our workforce,” said County Commissioner Heather Carruthers.
The Keys tourism industry employs about half the workforce.
Besides emergency marketing, funds will be used for capital projects grants to improve tourism-related facilities impacted by Irma.
“Getting approval for this funding means we can work to save our winter season, provide those necessary jobs and help (tourism-related) entities make needed repairs so they can open to the fullest capacity.” said Stacey Mitchell, the new director of the TDC, who replaced retired director Harold Wheeler.
Once county and municipal officials announced that visitors could return to the Florida Keys beginning Oct. 1, the TDC launched awareness and marketing efforts that included advertising, public relations and sales strategies.
The TDC is funded from a resort tax that visitors pay when they stay in a Keys-based lodging facility.