Visit Florida funds public relations blitz to counter red tide, hurricane damage

Board members at Visit Florida agreed this week to spend nearly $9 million fighting off the image left behind by summer natural disasters on the coasts.

During their meeting Tuesday the board approved an $8.89 million marketing campaign using crisis funds and state economic risk funds.

The campaign has already started with Facebook videos highlighting Florida beaches that haven’t been damaged in the state. The group will also reportedly launch TV commercials domestically and in Europe aimed at showing natural disaster didn’t hit all of the state’s hot spots.

The group also plans to begin marketing the effected spots again as they get cleaned up. However, that could take some time.

Hurricane damage in the Panhandle is still far from cleaned up and issues with red tide persist; not just along the Gulf Coast. 

On Wednesday, visitors to Cocoa Beach could be seen and heard coughing and sneezing as red tide continued to kick up in the air. 

Lifeguards and surfers who frequent the beach report that, while the fish kills are cleaned up, the repertory effects of red tide continue to kick up.

Many said it depends on the day and the particular spot on the beach, but near the Cocoa Pier Wednesday lifeguards said the issues had been the worst they’d seen in at least a week, over the last few days.

Problems persisting, crowds remained thin at the beach, though some did stick it out through the coughing to soak up some sun.

The state and counties continue to monitor the red tide situation.