Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed many controversial laws throughout his tenure. However, his recent legislative actions, which affected how the state teaches African-American history and treats its LGBTQ community, appear to do a significant disservice to the state when it comes to attracting visitors.
DeSantis Has Clashed With the LGBTQ Community, Disney, and Migrants
DeSantis has clashed with the LGBTQ community, Disney, and recently, migrants. And now, Florida tourism officials claim the governor’s rhetoric and policies are hurting the state’s tourism revenue.
Florida’s Broward County, which includes the resort town of Fort Lauderdale near Miami, reports increasing losses.
More conventions are avoiding the area, concerned about the safety of diverse attendees in an “unfriendly political environment.”
So far, 14 conventions previously scheduled for Florida have decided to go elsewhere, according to a report published by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
… And It’s Hurting the State
According to Visit Lauderdale, the agency charged with promoting city and county tourism, four conventions of that tally have backed out in August.
The missed conventions could have generated significant hotel revenue for Fort Lauderdale and nearby areas.
Typically, visitors also explore neighboring towns like Dania Beach, Hollywood Beach, and others on the Southeast Florida Coast, the agency states.
Most conventions were planning to bring thousands of attendees to the area, which means the area lost a significant chunk of revenue.
“Slavery Was Good for Black People”
The South Florida Sun Sentinel obtained the emails outlining various organizations’ concerns over Florida’s political climate in a public records request.
“Moving forward, we will not consider conducting any future conferences in the state of Florida given the Governor’s statement that slavery was good for Black people,” the founder and CEO of the National Sales Network Conference said in an email.
“At the moment, we aren’t able to consider any Florida cities because of the political issues around women’s health and the added challenges with higher education there,” The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology said in an email, as they also backed out recently.
Attempts To Erase Black History, and To Restrict Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs
Parent Miracles Foundation, based in Atlanta that had a scheduled event in November, decided to go to Texas after the NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida “in direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ attempts to erase Black history, and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools,” the organizer wrote the county’s tourism office.
The Tom Joyner Foundation also said they are no longer coming. The group cited the fear for the safety of African-American, Latino, and LGBTQ students participating in the event and voiced concerns over Florida’s newly issued permitless gun carry laws, which the NRA endorsed.
Under the law, state residents can carry concealed weapons without training or a permit.
DeSantis Is Considered the Strongest Challenger To Former President Donald Trump
“It’s most troubling because of the economic impact, which translates into Broward County residents’ jobs,” said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale, Broward County’s tourism promotion group,
Ritter said about 10 percent of Broward County jobs are tied to tourism.
DeSantis won a re-election campaign in late 2022 by the most significant margin of any Florida governor in 40 years. This win became his springboard for a White House run.
DeSantis, considered the strongest challenger to former President Donald Trump, still failed to capture the top spot in the polls. Although his campaign has had a great start, his numbers have been sagging.
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Source: Yahoo! News