Visit Florida brief up for grabs

Florida's official tourism agency has launched a major pan-European hunt for support as the state seeks to boost visitor numbers.

Visit Florida has a $400,000 (£253,200) per year search under way for PR, marketing and sales support. The goal is to increase visitor numbers, awareness and length of stay in the 'sunshine state'.

Tourism is Florida's leading industry, generating $60bn (£38bn) annually and employing more than a million people. Preliminary figures from Visit Florida show it had 23.4 million visitors from January to March, a rise of 2.4 per cent from a year ago.

The body is looking for an agency to support its existing Visit Florida UK, Ireland and continental Europe offices, handling media requests, securing press trips, providing crisis comms and growing its social media presence.

Aiming to promote the state to tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents, airlines and incentive professionals, Visit Florida is looking for an agency with experience of the state's tourism industry.

Fees are understood to be $100,000 (£63,300) for PR and $300,000 (£190,000) for sales and marketing for 2012/13. The one-year contract has the option for a two-year renewal.

The UK account is currently held by Reputations UK, which has subcontracted to Gosh PR for the past year. It has not been confirmed whether Gosh is repitching for the account.

Mikulla Goldmann holds the account in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The brief's sales and marketing strands include attendance at trade and consumer fairs across Europe and providing educational outreach, as well as product development and tourism industry education.

A decision is expected to be made by 19 June with the contract due to start in early July.

The travel body was forced to cut its UK PR support when the recession hit in 2009, leading it to move from a retained account to project work with Hills Balfour Synergy.

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